By Doh Bertrand Nua
Some 854 ex-fighters of Boko Haram terrorists group of Nigerian nationality who defected and escaped to Cameroon have begun voluntary return to their country of origin. A ceremony to bid farewell to the ex-combatants held in Cameroon’s Far North region September 17.
The ex-fighters were lodged at the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Transit Centre in Meri, the troubled-hit Far North region.
The returnees included 244 men, 215 women and 395 children.
The Commissioner for Education at the Borno State Governor’s office, Lawan Abba Wakilbe, expressed his government’s gratitude to President Paul Biyaof Cameroon for facilitating the return of the ex-fighters.
“The withdrawal of about one thousand people from Boko Haram further weakens their man power, a thing which would have taken much time, resources and carnage, if we were to proceed through the barrel of the gun,” the Borno State official stated.
Authorities of the Multinational Joint Task Force combating terrorism with the Lake Chad Basin are also said to have hinted of more defections in the Boko Haram camp in the days ahead as their last bastion sway in rapid succession.
With the repatriation of Chadians and now Nigerian ex-fighters, only Cameroonians are said to remain at the DDR transit Centre in Meri, pending the constructed of its permanent centre in Meme, in Mayo Sava division.
This batch of returnees, comes after authorities of both countries held a working session in September 1 to map out ways for the ex-fighters to return.
The meeting had in participation a 24-man Nigerian delegation which was led by the Vice Governor of Borno State, Umar Usman Kadafur together Governor MidjiyawaBakari of Cameroon together with other defence and security top brass.
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