Nigeria would let Boko Haram pick NGO intermediary in talks to free Chibok girls

Nigeria would let Boko Haram choose a non-profit organisation as an intermediary in any talks on the release of about 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from the northeastern village of Chibok in 2014, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday.

Buhari first said last year that his government was ready to negotiate with Islamist militants Boko Haram over the girls, but the group has not commented on the proposal.

Nigeria’s failure to find the kidnapped children prompted an outcry at home and abroad. Critics of Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, said his government was too slow to act.

Any negotiations would be the first publicly known talks between the government and Boko Haram, whose seven-year insurgency to create an Islamic state in the northeast has killed 15,000 people.

“The government which I preside over is prepared to talk to bona fide leaders of Boko Haram,” Buhari told reporters at a conference on African development in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, in comments later issued in an official statement.

“If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognised non-governmental organisation (NGO),” he said.

Buhari said Boko Haram could begin negotiations on a prisoner swap if they could provide evidence to the NGO that they had the girls.

Around 270 girls were taken from their school in the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria in April 2014. Dozens escaped in the initial melee, but more than 200 are still missing.

Earlier this month, Boko Haram published a video apparently showing recent footage of dozens of the girls and saying some were killed in air strikes.

Authorities said in May that one of the missing girls had been found and Buhari vowed to rescue the others.

Nigeria is fighting the group on the ground and with air strikes. A multi-national joint task force – comprising troops from Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin – is also battling the militants.

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s air force said it had killed some senior Boko Haram militants in raids. Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) last year, but there are signs of a rift emerging.

This month IS announced a new leader for what it described as its West African operations but Boko Haram’s hitherto leader Abubakar Shekau appeared to later contradict this in a video message.

Buhari said that if the Nigerian jihadists moved to start discussions “through the ‘modified leadership’ of Boko Haram and they talk with an internationally recognised NGO” then Nigeria would be prepared to discuss the release of militant leaders.

“We want those girls out and safe. The faster we can recover them and hand them over to their parents, the better for us,” he said.

 


Partner Content

THE FUTURE JUST ARRIVED: THE ROLE OF BANKS IN A POST-COVID WORLD

THE COVID-19 GLOBAL pandemic has brought forward the future. It has brought about humanity’s biggest challenge in a century, to choose between...

Mauritius-Africa, a partnership for shared prosperity

By: Mathieu Mandeng In the current complex and challenging circumstances that are testing the...

VIRTUAL VDJ EXPOSES LOCAL CREATIVE AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

The City of eThekwini pulled out all stops to give fans of the annual Vodacom Durban July (VDJ). The Virtual Vodacom Durban...

GAUTRAIN – Why It Matters

Economic growth continues to be one of the focus areas for the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and the Gautrain responds to that...

Trending Now

Snap ! Kodak shares plunge after U.S. blocks $765 million loan deal

(Reuters) - Shares of Eastman Kodak Co (KODK.N) fell about 40% on Monday and were on track for their worst single-day decline...

COMMENT: How Africa should used data and digital to protect itself.

Health is an investment in a nation’s wellbeing and a vehicle for national value creation. Healthy girls and boys go to school, healthy women and men contribute to society, live longer and lead more productive lives. Healthy people are able to save financially, vaccinate their children and do not place added strain on a country’s health infrastructure. There is a direct benefit to investment in healthcare and unlocking economic growth. If only it was that simple.

Wall Street mixed with stimulus in focus; Dow hits over five-month high

All three indexes opened higher after U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders that partly restored enhanced unemployment benefits after talks between the White House and top Democrats in Congress about fresh stimulus broke down last week.

What’s Next For The U.S. Economy: Jeffery Sachs

Economist and best-selling author Jeffrey Sachs says a geopolitical Cold War with China would be a “dreadful mistake.” He explains how globalization will persist as societies and workplaces move online and urges policymakers to come together to t

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

- Advertisement -