Nearly 600 Former Boko Haram Militants Graduate From Nigeria Rehab

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Nigerian authorities say a rehabilitation program for former Boko Haram sect fighters is helping weaken the group’s fighting power. Nearly 600 fighters graduated from the program over the weekend and tendered a public apology for their actions. Authorities say they will be reintegrated into society, but experts are warning of possible relapse.

The former Boko Haram fighters dressed in white simultaneously and echoed an oath of allegiance to Nigeria during a graduation ceremony Saturday at the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) camp in northern Gombe state.

They’re the latest batch of voluntary defectors from the sect to undergo the six-month physical, mental and psychosocial rehabilitation program tagged Operation Safe Corridor.

Nigerian authorities started the safe exit program in July 2016 as a strategy to degrade the fighting power of terror groups like Boko Haram.

Program coordinator Uche Nnabuihe spoke to Lagos-based television during the ceremony.

“Based on the therapeutic interventions these sets of clients have undergone, they’re better citizens from when they initially arrived at the DRR camp and accordingly are certified fit for graduation and subsequent reintegration to their respective communities,” Nnabuihe said.

Authorities said three of the graduates are from Niger and one from Chad, while the rest are Nigerians mostly from Borneo, Adamawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Niger and Nassarawa states.

The former fighters offered a public apology and promised to embrace peace in their respective communities.

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