News / Africa

    Nigeria, Boko Haram Reach Cease-Fire, Agree to Free Schoolgirls

    Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Harami
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    Mariama Diallo
    October 20, 2014 3:26 PM
    Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
    Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram
    VOA News

    The Nigerian government says the militant group Boko Haram has agreed to a cease-fire and the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militants in April.

    Nigeria's highest-ranking military official, General Alex Badeh, announced the cease-fire agreement Friday. He ordered all of the country's military chiefs to abide by the deal.

    The government expects the cease-fire agreement now in effect to lead to the release of the schoolgirls.

    There has been no public comment from Boko Haram that any such deal has been reached.

    Top Nigerian presidential aide Hassan Tukur tells VOA's Hausa service that the militants have agreed in principle to free the schoolgirls. He said negotiations in the past had not yet "yielded any positive results," but he is cautiously optimistic this time.

    Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria for the last five years as it tries to turn northern Nigeria into a conservative Islamic state. Bombings, gun attacks and other acts of violence have killed thousands of civilians and police.

    The militants outraged the world when they stormed a school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok, kidnapping about 270 girls. Fifty-seven managed to escape, but more than 200 are still being held.

    The cease-fire talks were held in Chad and involved Chad's president, Idriss Deby, and senior officials from Cameroon. It  marks a possible end to the five-year insurgency in which several thousand Nigerians have been killed.

    Nigerian leader criticized

    Jonathan has been criticized at home and abroad for Nigerian troops' inability to quell violence by the militants, seen as the biggest security threat to Africa's top economy and leading energy producer.

    Chibok schoolgirls who escaped the rebels prepare to meet with officials in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 2, 2014.Chibok schoolgirls who escaped the rebels prepare to meet with officials in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 2, 2014.
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    Chibok schoolgirls who escaped the rebels prepare to meet with officials in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 2, 2014.
    Chibok schoolgirls who escaped the rebels prepare to meet with officials in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 2, 2014.

    Criticism intensified in mid-April, when dozens of Boko Haram fighters stormed a secondary school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok, kidnapping around 270 girls. Fifty-seven managed to escape.

    In a video, the Boko Haram leader known as Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell the other girls as slave brides, vowing they would not be released until militant prisoners were freed from jail.

    Boko Haram has said it is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria.

    The group has launched scores of attacks in the past five years, targeting markets, bus stations, government facilities, churches and even mosques.  Militants recently took over some towns in the northeast for what Shekau said in another video would be an Islamic caliphate.

    The Nigerian military says that Shekau was actually an impostor and that the real Shekau was killed several years ago. It says the impostor was killed last month during a battle in the town of Konduga. 

    VOA's Hausa service, correspondent Anne Look, and reporters Yusuf Aliyu Harande and Umar Farouk contributed to this report.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
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    by: eze from: enugu
    October 18, 2014 5:53 PM
    Nigerian army is very constructive .

    by: FOURTH from: NIGERIA
    October 18, 2014 10:30 AM
    Why using the freedom and fundamental right of the Chibok girls to seek re-election? See how inhuman our rulers are

    by: Ik from: Lagos
    October 18, 2014 9:43 AM
    I doubt this news' validity. Negotiation involves mutual agreement. If Boko agreed to release the girls what did Nigeria leaders agreed to offer Boko Haram?
    In Response

    by: FU from: Langos
    October 18, 2014 7:40 PM
    Oxymoronic statement. If you don't wouldn't help if you didn't speculate. I doubt validity on your intelligence.

    by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
    October 18, 2014 4:28 AM
    Save the Nigeran Girls

    by: David Adibok from: Taraba state
    October 18, 2014 2:28 AM
    Thanks to Boko haram for the cease fire agreedment.

    by: farouk sanusi from: nigeria
    October 18, 2014 1:33 AM
    First of all, I pray this is real, not the usual lie the military is known for. I rejoice with the family of the missing girls, and the north. I send my condolence to the families who have lost their ones. If this will bring Peace, i support it. But let whoever has a hand in this insurgency know that a day will come when he will pay for it. Lastly, I pray Allah gives us the best leader to lead Nigeria to greater Heights! Keep sentiments saúde.

    by: Harry from: Sydney
    October 17, 2014 7:47 PM
    It's all political scam, Bokoharam is regrouping on the foolishness of Nigeria government . This is yet one of series of scam Goodluck Jonathan is using to push for his selfish second term ambition.
    In Response

    by: Henry from: Hill Billy, Australia
    October 18, 2014 5:58 AM
    Amazing, how people with here know so much but yet they cannot be specific or evidently. It's nice getting ethics lecture from Australia who so far undermines any racial crimes.

    by: yomi from: USA
    October 17, 2014 6:54 PM
    But we were told there was no kidnapping. Now that the terrorists have been paid to release the girls for election credit for Jonathan , Abati and other robbers at Aso Rock must apologise to Oby.

    by: O.K Olaniran from: bonny
    October 17, 2014 5:26 PM
    While we give thanks to God for the ray of hope on the possible release of the Chibok girls, I strongly think the Chadian president owe Nigerians the explanation on how it was possible for the militants to harbour that number of girls within his territory and without the knowledge of security operatives in his country.

    by: BTT from: Dar-Es-Salaam
    October 17, 2014 4:36 PM
    Good new to hear the girls shall be released. I don't care to know how many BH prisoners will be exchanged or ransom paid by the NG govt. My advice to all schools around troubled area is to close up for at least 2 months; and all christian families in troubled area to relocate to any save place during the cease fire. The last fight to flush out BH and to regain back those cities captured shall be very tough.
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