Boko Haram suspects go on trial in Nigeria

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More than 1,000 suspected Boko Haram militants are scheduled to appear in court later on Monday, the largest mass trial in Nigeria’s history.

The suspects – some of whom have been held for years – are expected to be arraigned before the civilian courts at a military facility in central Nigeria’s town of Kainji.

Nigerian authorities made the decision to hold the cases in public comes after human rights groups, including Amnesty International, criticised secret hearings during the first phase of the trials last October.

On that occasion, 45 people were sentenced to between three and 31 years in prison.

More than 400 other suspects were discharged for lack of evidence.

The trials were halted for four months to enable the authorities finish investigations on the Boko Haram suspects, according to Nigeria’s Justice Ministry.

Thousands of other suspected militants being detained in other facilities across the country are also expected to be tried later.

Boko Haram has waged a decade-long war in Nigeria, seeking to topple the government and instill a strict jihadist rule.

The war has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced millions others, spreading across West African states in the Lake Chad region.

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