ABUJA Fresh negotiations have started with Boko Haram militants for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped previous year but the Nigerian government is not now involved in the talks, a human rights activist said on Friday.
The abduction in April a year ago of 219 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, in Nigeria’s troubled northeast, sparked global outrage and the widely supported “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign.
SkyNews reported that the offer to President Muhammadu Buhari’s government echoed one made a year ago when ex- President Goodluck Jonathan was still in power.
Boko Haram’s offer of an exchange is thought to the first step to possibly opening lines of negotiation with the new government.
Another long-term negotiator with Boko Haram, Fred Eno said “another window of opportunity opened” in the last few days.
The frequency of attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants in northern states has increased since the president vowed in his inauguration speech of May 29 that the group would be crushed.
Play video “1 April – Nigeria Promises Action”. “Most wars, however furious or vicious, often end around the negotiation table”. “They (Boko Haram) have responded in the affirmative and so various channels are being explored”.
Amnesty worldwide alleges that 8,000 detainees have died in military custody.
In June, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria announced plans to create a regional military alliance tasked with degrading Boko Haram’s operational capabilities, especially in border areas. It seems the girls are still alive and are being used as bargaining chips.
As indicated by Mr Blinken, practical ways to strengthen Nigeria’s security, which is threatened by Boko Haram’s horrific acts of terror and violence would be extensively discussed during the Washington, DC meeting.
He is suspected of masterminding bombings in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday, and in the north-central city of Zaria on Tuesday. One of them said they had converted to Islam. At the same time, the last week’s slaughter also shines a light on Chad and Nigeria’s sharply contrasting fortunes in their offensives against the group – and on deep underlying issues in both countries.