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Hundreds of Boko Haram’s suspects face mass trial in Nigeria

Boko Haram’s Islamic terror suspects in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria – Boko Haram’s suspected in Nigeria are being brought to justice.  According to security and legal sources, hundreds of people suspected of links to deadly Islamic terror group on Monday stood trial in a detention center in central Nigeria.

The recent trial is considered as the country’s biggest legal investigation of the militant Islamist insurgency, Nigerian authorities said.

Since Boko Haram commenced its emergency in 2009 with the intent of establishing an Islamic state, more than 20,000 people have been killed and two million more people forced to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria.

Nigeria’s justice ministry said the suspects appeared in open court after human and civil rights groups criticized earlier hearings in which more than 1,000 people stood trial in secret courts.

According to the ministry, four judges on Monday presided over the trial of another set of several hundred people accused of links to the terror group.

“Unlike the first phase which was restricted, this phase is opened with some civil society groups, including human rights organizations and journalists invited to witness the proceedings,” the ministry added in a statement.

The Kainji detention facility where the trial is being held is about eight hours’ drive from Minna, the main town in Nigeria’s Niger state, itself about three hours’ drive from the Nigerian capital Abuja.

The ministry of justice in October 2017 said 45 suspects suspected of Boko Haram links had been convicted and jailed while 468 suspects were discharged and 28 suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja or Minna.

Nigeria faces a catch twenty in dealing with Boko Haram due to its significant Islamic population.  While many oppose the group, others are very weak in coming down too hard on the terror group because of their religious adherence.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.

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