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Nigerian President Releases Female Terror Suspects in Peace Move

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the release of some suspected terrorists, including all women, said Chris Olukolade, a Defense Ministry spokesman.

The decision was made to “enhance peace efforts in the country,” Olukolade said today in an e-mailed statement. It follows a decision by Jonathan to impose emergency rule in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa on May 14 and start a military campaign against Boko Haram Islamist insurgents.

The air and ground offensive by troops of Africa’s largest oil producer “destroyed all terrorist camps” in parts of the northeast and drove away militants, some of whom are fleeing to Chad and Niger, Olukolade said.

Jonathan set-up a committee last month to draft a plan to grant amnesty to fighters from Boko Haram and disarm its members over a 60-day period. The decision to free some suspects held in connection with terrorist activities was in response to a recommendation by the panel, Olukolade said.

Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said the group won’t accept a government amnesty. The militants have fought a violent campaign since 2009 to establish Islamic rule that has claimed thousands of lives.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maram Mazen in Abuja at mmazen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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