Nigeria open to talks with Boko Haram

2012-11-02 13:50

Abuja - Nigeria said on Friday that it is willing to end the Boko Haram insurgency through dialogue after a man claiming to represent the Islamists declared they were open to peace talks.

Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, who spoke to journalists in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Thursday by teleconference, identified himself as a senior Boko Haram leader but his credibility is in question.

He said the group was not challenging the Nigerian state, directly contradicting previous Boko Haram statements, and spoke in English, a departure for the group that has consistently addressed the public in Hausa.

There was also no mention of Islamic law in his conditions for dialogue. Boko Haram's demands have varied during its insurgency which has killed hundreds since 2009, but a commitment to impose sharia in the mainly Muslim north has been a constant.


Past public statements from the Islamists have been issued through a spokesperson who uses the alias Abul Qaqa.
It was therefore not clear if Abdulaziz was representing Abubakar Shekau, the presumed insurgent leader who has been designated a global terrorist by the United States.

"I have seen the story in which the Boko Haram is reportedly declaring a ceasefire and the opening of dialogue," said President Goodluck Jonathan's spokesperson Reuben Abati.

"If what the proposed ceasefire is intended to achieve are the objectives of peace and security, then it is a welcome development," he added.

"President Jonathan had made it clear that if the people behind Boko Haram are ready to come forward, and table their grievances, then government will be willing to listen."

Moderated dialogue

Abdulaziz proposed peace talks in Saudi Arabia to be moderated by Nigeria's former military leader Muhammadu Buhari, now a senior opposition figure who lost to Jonathan in 2011 polls.

"We are not actually challenging the state as people are saying but the security [forces] who are killing our members, children and wives," Abdulaziz said.

"We want to dialogue but government must show sincerity in its handling of the situation," he added.

Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency is estimated to have left more than 2 800 people dead since 2009, including killings by security forces.

The Islamists have attacked the security services, Christians in churches and government officials among other targets.
Shekau has on several previous occasions ruled out talks with government.

  • paul.maarman - 2012-11-02 16:14

    sorry...every time I hear or see Boko Haram, I go Pocahontas...

  • umeh.aguoha - 2012-11-02 18:41

    In a land where terrorists get handsome rewards instead of punishments, what do you expect?. Open talks with Boko Haram today

  • Kammaldeen Olayinka - 2012-11-04 10:25

    well am Abdulazeez by name,as far as me am concen this stupid people so called what ever name gaving themself are coword.the idiot is telling us now that they are not attack the state buth the security forces of the state,if so den while are day bomb churchs,killing innocent people they should hav invit the force member to one area of war den if day won they should take over the state..lolz,sound funny anyway,buth y y y y y y y , aba if not bcose the goverment are as well stupid,well let me reseve my comment on that for advice for the president is this,president should gave other all our big mans son,children,dolters,wives,member of there family that they are outside the country should come back to nigeria,i belive by the time BOKOHARAM attack one chuch or mosqure and the other and there family as well involves BOKOHARAM is goin to stop attack....and for the AbdulAzeez or wht is that ur name,you people are jost spoiling the name of islam and we muslims by doin bad tins and iding onder the relegion,may almghty Allah will never forgave all of you inshall Allah....will are all muslim and i never see were The Holy Quran state that will should be killing people witout any reason,or can anyone tell me one major reason y this useless BOKOwht ever killing innocent soil? .....let me blame goverment for one tin yes is not rght for the gov to kill is people,buth when ever anybody get cut in one way or the other involve wit BOKOHARAM members day should not tink twice of it dan to kill them bfor waiting for who ever what to talk about wht i said,or asking me a quetion.

  • mmoledis - 2012-11-06 15:21

    Nigerian government must act quickly before situation got out of hands, because if not then the country can end up being like Pakistan and Afghanistan, we do not want to see Nigeria be divided like Sudan, so government must show up and fight if posible those doing terorist work and crimes.We do not want see North Nigeria and South Nigeria, we want one nation living in peace so all groups must go on the table and agree on a posible solution to all mess that is happening in Nigeria as poor people are the only one suffering because of those fightings and not leaders of government and Boko Haram.

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