Christopher Musa, theatre commander of the north-east joint task force — Operation Hadin Kai — says the prayers of Nigerians made many Boko Haram members surrender to troops.
According to NAN, Musa said this while briefing journalists on the fight against insurgency in the northern region.
He said the theatre of operation had sustained the fight to root out Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) from the zone.
He said tremendous achievements had been recorded against the insurgents.
On repentant bandits who surrendered to the army, Musa attributed the development to the prayers of Nigerians, saying it “looked like part of divine intervention”.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had said over 1,000 insurgents surrendered to troops of Operation Hadin Kai.
Musa acknowledged the apprehension of citizens over the development and assured Nigerians that the surrendered insurgents will be properly handled.
“Some of the surrendered insurgents will tell you they don’t even understand how they are surrendering and coming out in droves,” he said.
“I know there will be apprehension definitely, but we are not taking anything for granted; we remain focused.
“Part of our training and part of our laws in rules of engagements is that even when you are fighting somebody and he surrenders, you cannot shoot him and when you get him, you have to treat him well; you will give him shelter just like any other person.
“But most people don’t really understand and they look at them and say we are pampering them.
“No, we are just doing what we are supposed to do but the law will naturally take its course.
“That’s why we were able to talk to the government and advised it to call the stakeholders meeting which was held about three weeks ago.
“One thing I told them is that whatever it is we are doing, we must sit back and reflect on how it started, what were we doing and how do we prevent it from happening in future.
“If we don’t address the causative factor then we are bound to go back to them.”
The theatre commander asked the media to continue to support the effort of the military, adding that the army will continue to provide the media with needed information regarding its operations.