By Dr Charles Omole
Giving Amnesty to parties in war or conflict is a normal global practice BUT only as settlement at the END of the conflict not while the same parties are still killing each other. ‘Repentant’ Boko Haram are prisoners of war with rights but any Amnesty should wait till the end of the conflict.
Provision of money and other support to ‘repentant’ BH while BH still attacks Nigerians daily is wrong and breaks every logic of war & conflict management. Especially worse viewed against the background of neglected victims of BH violence in the North East.
Why the rush anyway?
What consultation took place with all stakeholders before this Amnesty policy was agreed in the middle of ongoing conflict and killings by Boko Haram. Terrorism should not be seen as being rewarded. The messaging is wrong. The optics is wrong. The act itself is wrong. We can do better.
I will advise that this policy should be stopped forthwith. Captured Boko Haram members should ALL be detained under d laws of conflict (repentant or not). Their fate should be determined at d END of the conflict as part of a final settlement & peace plan. Stop putting the cart before the horse.
Release of all these Boko Haram captured members is also weakening the position of the Nigerian Government as a major bargaining chip is being lost. In fighting non-state actors like Boko Haram; deep members are difficult to separate from sympathisers. Keeping all till the end of the conflict is wise.
The laws of war allow anyone captured on the battlefield is to be detained as prisoners of war or enemy combatants until the end of the conflict. This is however slightly more challenging with non-state actors whose soldiers have no uniform. Reason to be even more careful.
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