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Chad: Deal to Free Nigerian Girls Still On

  • VOA News

FILE - Image taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists purportedly shows girls abducted from northeastern town of Chibok, May 12, 2014.

FILE - Image taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists purportedly shows girls abducted from northeastern town of Chibok, May 12, 2014.

A Chadian official says he expects Nigeria's deal with militant group Boko Haram to free more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls will go through, despite the apparent breakdown of a cease-fire.

Reuters news agency says Moussa Mahamat Dago, the number-two official in Chad's Foreign Ministry, says Nigeria and Boko Haram have verbally agreed to a series of points, including the release of the schoolgirls and of jailed Boko Haram fighters.

Dago says the sides have not yet agreed on the names and number of Boko Haram fighters to be released, but that he still expects the girls to be freed. No estimate of when that could happen is available.

Chad has been involved in talks between Nigeria and Boko Haram, first reported last week by VOA's Hausa Service.

Meeting scheduled in N'djamena

Danladi Ahmadu, who describes himself as the secretary-general of Boko Haram, told VOA on Thursday that Nigerian and Boko Haram representatives are scheduled to meet on Monday in Chad's capital, N'djamena, under the "leadership" of Chadian President Idriss Deby.

​The kidnapping of the girls on April 14 from a school in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state sparked outrage around the world, as well as intense pressure on the Nigerian government to secure the girls' release.

A Nigerian newspaper, This Day, reported Thursday that suspected Boko Haram militants have kidnapped another 60 women from two remote villages in Adamawa state. A VOA affiliate in Nigeria, Channels TV, reports that government officials have been unable to confirm the report because they cannot reach the area.

Witnesses said hundreds of Boko Haram fighters overran the villages on vans and motorcycles on Saturday.

The incident was one of several indicating the breakdown of a cease-fire announced by Nigerian officials a week ago.

The Chadian official, Dago, told Reuters it appears some Boko Haram factions are refusing to abide by the deal with Nigeria. The agreement between the two sides was brokered, Dago said, at meetings in Chad on September 14 and 30.

Dago also said the Boko Haram members who negotiated with the Nigerian government did so in good faith, and that he is confident they were authorized to speak on behalf of Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau.

The status of Shekau remains unclear. The Nigerian military says the real Shekau was killed years ago, and that the bearded man seen in recent Boko Haram videos is an impostor who was also killed in a battle last month. But a new video featuring the bearded man appeared after that battle.

Boko Haram has fought the Nigerian government since 2009, with the stated goal of establishing a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Bombings, gun attacks, and raids on towns and villages have resulted in thousands of deaths and promped hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

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