Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nigerian Government Enters Talks with Boko Haram

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nigerian Government Enters Talks with Boko Haram

Article excerpt

The Islamist militant group has killed thousands in its rebellion against the Nigerian government. Nigerians are hopeful that negotiations will bring a respite from the violence.

The Nigerian government has confirmed that it is in dialogue with Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group notorious for terror attacks against Christians and others across the country's restive north.

The dialogue began this month with a secret meeting between Boko Haram's deputy leader, Abu Mohammed, and Nigerias Vice President Namadi Sambo, security adviser Sambo Dasuki, and other top government officials. The meeting was held in Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Mohammed with Boko Haram confirmed the talks after they were first announced by Nigeria's minister of information, Labaran Maku, Wednesday.

The government is willing to negotiate because of the security challenges posed by the group who are attacking security formations, universities, and other government formations," said Mr. Maku. The government welcomes any initiative that will usher in peace, security, and tranquility in the country, especially in the light of the security challenges that we have faced in the last two years."

This marks the second time the government and Boko Haram have engaged in talks. The first dialogue broke off because the federal government could not accept the mediators. This time, the announcement has been met with optimism in the conflict-weary north.

Virtually all people of the northern Nigeria are optimistic with dialogue. These security challenges cause a lot of fear, loss of hope, and anxiety among the people because the affected states were in serious destruction by the Boko Haram," says Abba Anwar, an analyst based in the northern city of Kano. I pray and hope that the federal government will look into their grievances and find out modalities to address them for the interest of the teeming people who are suffering from these security challenges. …

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