Nigeria and the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement, and the release of over 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. However, there remains some doubt over the recent talks according to new developments.
As reported by the AFP, the Nigerian government and Boko Haram made the agreement last Friday. Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said at a meeting in the capital city of Abjuja that the deal was settled. This was after a senior aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Hassan Tukur, confirmed the news once more with the AFP.
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Jonathan is also expected to declare his bid for re-election in the coming weeks, with positive news about the hostages and the violence likely to give him a political boost.
Multiple analysts cast doubt over the credibility of a man called Danladi Ahmadu, whom Tukur claimed represented Boko Haram at the two meetings in neighbouring Chad.
“I have never heard of such a man (Ahmadu) and if Boko Haram wanted to declare a ceasefire it would come from the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau,” said Shehu Sani, a Boko Haram expert who has negotiated with the group before on behalf of the government.
Although Tukur claimed to have spoke with Boko Haram officials via the Chad meetings, the blessing of Shekau does not seem apparent. It also appears that the recent talks in Chad led to the release of 27 hostages and further promises that “Chibok Girls” will be freed.
Ahmadu, thus far claiming to be connected with Boko Haram, has uttered several statements that seemingly contradict his connection with the group, giving rise to assumptions that this could be a political ruse for President Jonathan.
Earlier Sunday, the truce between Nigeria and Boko Haram looked to broken after violence erupted in Nigeria. Officials said that the attacks could have been a splinter insurgent group or criminal gang not affiliated with the Islamist insurgency.
Photo: Medina Dauda/VOA/Public Domain