Traditional leaders implore people to welcome terrorists who have changed their ways

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In Borno State, traditional leaders are pleading with their people to let remorseful rebels into their neighborhoods.

The biggest obstacle facing the Borno State government’s integration program for the rebels in their home towns since the program’s inception around three years ago has been the acceptance of the now-more than 160,000 reformed Boko Haram fighters.

The majority of the towns and people whose loved ones were killed or severely injured by the rebels have expressed their apprehension about the program and their refusal to coexist in the same villages as the former insurgents.

As the godzgeneralblog may remember, throughout the past few years, the insurgents who have shown remorse have been forced to retract their words of contrition and return to the bushes to continue their terror out of fear that aggrieved communities and people will exact revenge on them.

Alhaji Abba Kyari Terab, a traditional ruler, revealed in Maiduguri on Monday, April 8, “We now beg people to please accept the repentant insurgents as their peace-loving kinsmen to enable us as communities, and as a state, to break the cycle of violence that has troubled our state for about 13 years now.”

Terab, a district head in the state’s Jere local government area, spoke at the conclusion of an event hosted by the Allamin Foundation for Peace and Development, an NGO with headquarters in Maiduguri, on behalf of traditional rulers.

“To achieve this, we resorted to mounting enlightenment campaigns to plead with our communities to accept the repentant insurgents as their kinsmen,” he continued. “Community acceptance of the repentant insurgents is key to their full integration in their home communities.”

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Terab continued, “To help break the cycle of violence, we have talked extensively with our religious leaders and community leaders and have also pleaded with them to please accept the repentant insurgents.”

He noted that Boko Haram violence would persist as long as communities in the state did not allow the remorseful insurgents to properly integrate among themselves.

“From our conversations with the majority of them, we learned that they were sorry to have joined Boko Haram, and that the majority of those who are still in the bush would be willing to return home if it weren’t for their fear of social rejection and the communities that had wronged them,” Terab added.

UKaid provided sponsorship for the Allamin Foundation-organized event, “Strengthening Capacities and Will for Transitional Justice and Reconciliation in Borno State.”

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