Nigerian govt begins trial of 1,600 Boko Haram suspects

Image result for 1,600 suspected Boko Haram militants appear in CourtThe Nigerian government on Monday began the trial of the first of more than 1,600 suspected Boko Haram militants.

Most of the defendants were arrested in the last few years, as the government stepped up its campaign against the insurgents.

Boko Haram has been fighting for the last eight years, to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

There are at least 7,000 suspects being held in different locations in the north-east, who are expected to face trial in the coming weeks.

The most high-profile case currently in court is that of Khalid al-Barnawi, a leader of the moribund Boko Haram offshoot, Ansaru, on charges of abducting and murdering a number of foreign workers.

Nigeria’s military and government maintain Boko Haram has become a spent force after more than two years of sustained counter-insurgency operations, including with neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Boko Haram which seeks to impose a strict Islamic legal system in Nigeria’s mainly-Muslim north has killed at least 20,000 people and forced some 2.6 million others to flee their homes since 2009, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

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