Nigeria releases 'repentant' Boko Haram suspects as terror group releases video of captured girls

Nigeria has released 244 people suspected to have been part of Boko Haram who officials said are “repentant” after undergoing rehabilitation.

The release occurred the same week that the terrorist group released video purportedly showing girls that it abducted from a school three years ago vowing to never return home.

Nigeria military officials said the group that was released, which included women and children, have been de-radicalized and can re-enter society. They have been handed over to the governor of Borno state, an area which has been targeted by Islamist violence in recent years, BBC News reported.

Nigerian army operation commander Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas said Tuesday that those released Monday included 118 adult males, 56 women, 19 teens and 51 children. He said they were freed after they were screened and denounced the Nigeria-based insurgency.

Their release came as part of activities marking Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people during its eight-year insurgency. Nigeria has arrested thousands of suspected Boko Haram members in recent years. Human rights groups warn many detainees are arbitrarily arrested.

Nigeria's government established a de-radicalization program in 2016 that offers amnesty for those who repudiated the group.

The release of the suspects coincided with a new video released by Boko Haram, which purportedly showed some of the young women kidnapped by the group almost three years ago now vowing to remain with their captors and never return home.

Of the 276 girls abducted from their boarding school in Chibok in April 2014, about 100 are believed to remain in captivity.

Many of them were forced to marry their captors and several young women in the new video are shown with children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang