The president of Niger said he released several “terrorists”, including Boko Haram fighters, in order to restore peace in the country.
Niger President Mohamed Bazoum said on February 25 that the country freed several “terrorists” to “seek peace”. His move included several members of Boko Haram, national television reported Saturday.
It is the first time the government officially released members of Boko Haram.
“I identified nine terrorist leaders. I have been advised to free prisoners whom I then directly received at the presidential palace because I seek to restore peace,” said the president of Niger who took office in April 2021.
Releases took place over the last three months.
The objective for the president is to ease tensions and maintain dialogue: “I spare no efforts, I have many emissaries in all areas. […] I have tried to find reconciliations in villages. I manage as I can”. He also said he noted fewer attacks in the country’s southeast regions.
Niger faces two internal conflicts with Islamist groups. One in the Southeast near Nigeria with Boko Haram and the rival Islamic State’s West Africa Province, and another in the West close to Mali’s borders with groups affiliated with ISIS or Al-Qaeda.
Unlike Mali where the military junta asked French and European troops to leave the country, Mohamed Bazoum still seeks military assistance from American and European armed forces against jihadists.