Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum announced Friday evening during a meeting on the security situation in the country the release of several "terrorists" detained in Niger, including for the first time in this country members of Boko Haram, within the framework of " the search for peace,” national television reported on Saturday.
"These releases are the first of their kind publicly disclosed as part of the search for and restoration of peace in Niger since the beginning of the terrorist attacks in 1995," said a source at the presidency.
“I have identified nine terrorist leaders.
I have been advised to release prisoners whom I received directly (after their release) at the presidential palace because I seek peace,” the Nigerien president said.
“I spare no means.
I released seven to eight people detained in the prisons of Kollo (South), Koutoukalé (high security prison) and I have plenty of emissaries in all the areas (…) I tried reconciliations in the villages , I manage as I can,” added President Bazoum.
Listening to young people enlisted by terrorists
These releases took place during the “last three months” and concern “members of movements including Boko Haram” in a process “of the search for peace”, confided a close friend of the president.
Niger is facing two jihadist fronts: in the south-east close to Nigeria, where the Nigerian group Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap), its dissident branch, operate, and in its western part, close of Mali, targeted by groups affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda.
These jihadist movements have recruited "many young Nigeriens", according to security sources.
“Since I came to head of state (in April 2021), I have said to myself: “those young people who are involved in terrorism, what do they want?”.
I decided to approach them, I looked for the biological parent of each of them (…) I sent them emissaries”, indicated President Bazoum.
He said he "spoke with some" and "received others" and noted "a slight lull" in the jihadist attacks, particularly in the Southeast.
At the same time, Mohamed Bazoum assures that some 12,000 Nigerien soldiers are fighting "permanently" in a dozen anti-jihadist operations, the last "Niya" (will in the local language) of 2,160 men being "mounted" in February in the Southwest, close to Burkina Faso.
In addition, the Nigerien president insisted on the "necessary" support of their European and American allies against the jihadists.
“We don't have the means to keep all our villages.
My soldiers are 12,000 in operations, they do four months (in the field) if alongside them I can place 600, 700 Europeans who have helicopters that will work with them (…) that's the spirit of Takuba”, the European force which could be redeployed in the Nigerien zone of Tillabéri (west) after its withdrawal from Mali.
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