Seventy six emaciated members of the Boko Haram militant group have surrendered, begging for food, in northeast Nigeria, the Nigerian military said on Wednesday.
Nearly 76 people including children and women were abandoned last Saturday in Gwoza, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, according to a senior officer.
All of them were detained at a military headquarters in the northern state Maiduguri where Boko Haram has a strong presence, the Nigerian officer said. The region is currently the center of the Nigerian military's war against Boko Haram.
The officer insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to journalists.
The Nigerian military reported that many Boko Haram militants have surrendered since September last year. The military said that those militants who gave themselves up voluntarily will be provided rehabilitation and will be taken into a "de-radicalization" programme.
Previously, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari moved the military headquarters from the capital Abuja to northeast Maiduguri, which is at the heart of militant activities.
The Nigerian military has already driven the militant group out from the towns and villages in the area but Boko Haram changed its tactics to hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings.
Boko Haram was formed in 2009. In the past six years some 17,000 people have been killed by what is the world’s deadliest militant group, which also caused around 2.5 million people to flee the area.
The militant group swore allegiance to the DAESH terrorist group in 2014.