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10 Nigerians Arrested in Benin Republic Over Alleged Boko Haram Ties

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PORTO-NOVO, Benin Republic – Ten Nigerians have been arrested in neighboring Benin Republic over suspicions of being members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

All the detained individuals are from Dandi Local Government Area of Kebbi State and were arrested on Thursday, June 1, 2023, at Kaini Tunga village in the Benin Republic.

The arrested individuals were identified as:

  • Yusha’u Mohammed (38)
  • Surajo Likita (25)
  • Suleiman Usman (25)
  • Ibrahim Umar (29)
  • Nazifi Tahiru (18)
  • Babangida Aliu (30)
  • Usama Kabiru (25)
  • Babawo Mohammed (35)
  • Hamisu Dan Ashibi (25)
  • Ibrahim Rilwanu (25)

They were reportedly returning home from Benin Republic when they were detained by security operatives, who tagged them as “Boko Haram sect members.” Their money, phones, and other possessions were allegedly confiscated, and they were taken to an unknown detention facility in Cotonou, Benin Republic. Efforts to locate them initially proved futile.

In response, Kebbi State Governor, Comrade Nasiru Idris, has intervened by sending a delegation to Benin Republic to facilitate the release of the detainees.

The government delegation, led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Shafiu Abubakar, met with the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic and presented a letter seeking his assistance in securing the release of the detained Nigerians.

Governor Idris has charged the delegation to explore all legal avenues to rescue the affected persons and their possessions, emphasizing their innocence.

The incident raises concerns over potential human rights violations and the presumption of guilt without due process. It also highlights the complex cross-border dynamics in the fight against terrorism in the West African region.

The situation is likely to draw the attention of human rights organizations, and the Nigerian government’s response could become a test of its diplomatic efforts to protect its citizens abroad.

The case also underscores the broader challenges West African states face in addressing the threat of Boko Haram, balancing security concerns with the rights and freedoms of individuals.

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