Boko Haram, FG, in talks, VOA reports

Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader

A man, who claims to be the deputy leader of the Boko Haram, says the sect is in negotiation with the Federal Government.

By Sani Tukur

The continuous violence in the Northern part of Nigeria, carried out by the Jama’atu ahlis sunnah lil da’awati wal wal jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, may cease; reports by the Voice of America (VOA), Hausa service, state.

The VOA, in a report on Tuesday, quoted one Abu Mohammed, who claims to be the second in command of the sect, saying that negotiations have already commenced with the government, with a view to restoring peace in the northern part of the country.

Mr. Mohammed contacted a VOA reporter in Mecca, via the telephone, where he said the sect is ready to stop all attacks during the period of negotiations, as long as the Federal government is “serious and sincere.”

The self proclaimed Boko Haram deputy leader said the sect decided to enter into the negotiations with government, based on calls by prominent Northern leaders on the need to restore peace to the nation.

Sources close to the Federal Government also told the news agency that talks had begun with the sect.

Sect warns impersonators

Mr. Mohammed also warned those he referred to as “politicians and armed robbers” who hide under the name of the sect to perpetrate various crimes.

He said the group would focus its attention on “those persons who are giving them bad image.”

Mr. Mohammed’s statement on impersonators appears a confirmation of what the Presidency believes.

The Presidency, through the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Monday, confirmed that there were three categories of the Boko Haram sect: the religious (official Boko Haram), the criminal one, and the political group.

One of many

Mr. Mohammed’s statement is one of numerous ones stating that negotiations between the sect and the FG have commenced. He is not a known member of the sect, has never issued a statement, nor spoken on behalf of the terrorist group in the past.

Though Premium Times could not independently confirm Mr. Mohammed’s membership of the group, or whether negotiations are in existence, sources close to the group told PREMIUM TIMES that the leadership of the sect usually goes to Mecca for the Umrah (lesser hajj) and Hajj activities.

“There was even a time that Abubakar Shekau (the sect’s leader) prayed two rows behind the Vice President (Namadi Sambo) in Mecca,” a source, knowledgeable about the group’s activities, stated.

Perhaps coincidentally, Mr. Sambo is at present in Mecca for the lesser hajj.

While the sect admitted to a first round of talks (which broke down) between the government and a group under the leadership of Datti Ahmad, The National President of the Supreme Council for Sharia’ah in Nigeria; it has consistently denied any other report of dialogue with the government.

In a recent video posted on you tube about a fortnight ago; the sect’s leader, Mr. Shekau, foreclosed any possibility of dialogue with the government.

While Ahmed Dasuki, the National Security Adviser, has stepped up efforts to negotiate with the group, the sect has become more daring and vicious in its attacks across Northern states particularly during the ongoing Islamic month of Ramadan.

It is therefore, not clear if the present announcement is indeed from the leadership of the Boko Haram.


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