The Nigerian military, and some self defense fighters on Wednesday, said dozens of emaciated-looking Boko Haram members begging for food have surrendered in Borno state.
Seventy-six people including children and women gave themselves up to soldiers last Saturday in Gwoza, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, according to a senior officer.
An officer who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists, says all those who surrendered are being detained at military headquarters in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and currently the command center of the war against the Islamic extremists.
A self-defense civilian fighter who helped escort them to Maiduguri told The Associated Press (AP), that the detainees said many more fighters want to surrender.
Food shortages could indicate that Nigeria’s military is succeeding in choking supply routes of the Islamic extremists who have taken their fight across Nigeria’s borders. Some 20,000 people have died in the 6-year-old uprising. Boko Haram was declared the deadliest of all terror groups in 2014, surpassing the ISIS group to which it declared allegiance last year.
Nigeria’s military reported that dozens of Boko Haram fighters surrendered in September and October last year. It promised those who give themselves up voluntarily that they will be rehabilitated through a de-radicalization program.
In a strive to halt the insurgency in the northeast since the beginning of his administration, President Muhammadu Buhari has replaced the leadership of the military, moved the headquarters for the fight from the distant capital, Abuja, to the heart of the northeastern insurgency and resupplied soldiers.
The military has driven the insurgents from the towns and villages where they had set up an Islamic caliphate but Boko Haram has resorted to hit-and-run tactics and suicide bombings.
Read Also: Boko Haram Sought Terro Training In Somalia