The Nigerian government and the extremist Boko Haram sect have begun fresh negotiation over the release of the more than 200 girls abducted by the sect from their school dormitories in Chibok, Borno state, six months ago, the Voice of America is reporting.
The report said the talks are also aimed at hammering out a cease-fire deal between Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram.
The VOA quoted an unnamed adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan and Danladi Ahmadu, a man calling himself the secretary-general of Boko Haram, as saying the talks were going on in Saudi Arabia, “aided by high level officials from Chad and Cameroon”.
Mr. Ahmadu, reportedly said the girls are “in good condition and unharmed.”
He would however “not elaborate on the conditions under which the girls would be freed.
The Saudi Arabian government is not involved in the negotiations, the VOA said.
Nigeria’s Channels TV later reported the Principal Private Secretary to the President, Hassan Tukur, as confirming the negotiation.
Mr. Tukur, said to have spoken with the Voice of America Hausa service, was quoted as saying the Nigerian government “met with Chadian Government officials as well as representatives of the Boko Haram sect in N’Djamena, Chad, in an effort to secure the release of the 219 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram”.
The report said “a cease-fire has been achieved while other areas that were discussed are the location and health condition of the girls, those they want to swap with the girls, where Shekau is and more”.
Channels TV says the meeting will continue next week.
More to come…