Nigeria to free women held for terrorism

2013-05-22 07:51

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Abuja - Nigeria said on Tuesday it would release several suspects held for "terrorist activities", including all women in custody, in what it called a peace gesture to the Islamists it is battling in the north.

"Consequent upon the directives of the president ... the Defence Headquarters will be releasing from detention a number of persons being held in connection with terrorist activities," a defence statement said, adding it included "all women under custody".

Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has previously demanded the release of women prisoners, though the defence statement made no mention of the demand.

"The move is in furtherance of the federal government position in response to requests by the presidential committee on dialogue and reconciliation," the statement said.

"The measure which is in line with presidential magnanimity to enhance peace efforts in the country will result in freedom for suspects including all women under custody."

It came as Nigeria pressed ahead with a nearly week-old offensive targeting Islamist insurgents in the country's violence-wracked northeast.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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