Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the release of all women held in connection with “terrorist activity”, the defense ministry says.
The decision was aimed at enhancing peace efforts in Nigeria, it added.
The news of the prisoner release was announced on Tuesday shortly after the government relaxed the curfew in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and a stronghold of Boko Haram, which has been fighting the government to enforce Islamic laws.
“The (prisoner release) 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,” a statement by defense spokesperson Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade said.
Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the base of the military offensive, said the detained Boko Haram suspects will be released to the state governors “for rehabilitation and eventual release back to the community”.
Earlier, the city residents were able to go outside their homes during the day after the army issued a statement late on Monday easing the curfew from 7am local time (06:00 GMT) until 5pm (16:00 GMT).
Nigeria’s military on Saturday imposed a 24-hour curfew in parts of the northeastern city, as soldiers poured in the region that saw people fleeing from their homes. Some 2,000 soldiers were deployed to the region last week, in the biggest campaign to date against Boko Haram.
The country launched the sweeping operation last week, deploying thousands of troops across three states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe – where President Jonathan declared a state of emergency a week ago after the fighters seized territory and chased out the government.