UPDATED: Nigerian military, Boko Haram agree immediate ceasefire

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

The Nigerian military and the Boko Haram sect, have reached an immediate ceasefire, the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, said Friday.

There were reports earlier today the two sides were having talks over the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group on April 14.

With the agreement, Mr. Badeh has ordered all field officers to comply with the deal.

The Chief of Defence Staff announced the agreement during the close of the three-day coordinating conference on Nigeria/Cameroon trans-border military operations with the Cameroonian Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Claude Rene.

“Without any prejudice to the outcome of our three-day interactions and the conclusion of this forum, I wish to inform this audience that a ceasefire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Ahlul Sunna Li Dawaa Wal Jihad (Boko Haram).

“I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development in the field.’’

The army spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, also said that the directive to the service chiefs had gone to the field and that it would be adhered to immediately.

He, however, said that he didn’t speak for the insurgents but for the Nigerian armed forces and could only clarify that the Nigerian army would comply with the directive.

“The Chief of Defence Staff has given directive to all the service chiefs to ensure that it is complied with immediately on the field and that information has gone to the troops in the field.

“I don’t speak for them (Boko Haram), I speak for the Nigerian Armed Forces and we are going to comply because the FG has entered into an agreement in that respect.”

The three-day event climaxed with a communiqué signed by the two countries on the outcome of deliberations by the delegates of the countries.

The communiqué was read by Air Commodore Humphrey Okpala.

“The technical experts of both sides at plenary session deliberated on a wide range of issues.

“The objective was to enhance cooperation and collaboration to agree on ways and means for effective military operations to curb the insecurity and criminality within our common borders.

“This discussion focused on coordination, intelligence sharing, communication, media plan and procedures of handling displaced persons and refugees.

“The meeting resolved that each party should coordinate and plan its operations under the agreed permanent simultaneous operations.

“While guaranteeing information flow through agreed liaison officers and focal points at the tactical operational levels as agreed during the deliberations.”

The communique also stated that the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff laid special emphasis on the excellent state of cooperation between the two countries.

It said the defence chief expressed the will for the collective determination to address the challenges of terrorism and other acts of criminality confronting both countries especially in the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).

It added that the Cameroonian Chief of Defence Staff expressed satisfaction with the ongoing efforts to address issues bordering on cross border problems and challenges existing along the common borders of both countries.

According to the communiqué the parties agreed that the meeting for the second coordinating conference of the armed forces of the two countries would be held in Cameroon at a later date. (NAN)

Boko Haram has sacked several communities in north east Nigeria and has killed more than 13,000 deaths in a five-year long bloody campaign.

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