News / Africa

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Militants Announce Cease-Fire

Confiscated weapons are displayed after a military raid on a hideout of suspected Islamist Boko Haram members in Nigeria's northern city of Kano August 11, 2012.
Confiscated weapons are displayed after a military raid on a hideout of suspected Islamist Boko Haram members in Nigeria's northern city of Kano August 11, 2012.
Heather Murdock
— A man who claims to be a commander from the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram declared a unilateral cease-fire Monday in Maiduguri in northern Nigeria.  It is not clear if Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez is speaking for all of Boko Haram, but officials say they will consider terms laid out by the group.

This is the first time a person has physically appeared at a press conference claiming to be a Boko Haram leader.  Usually they call from blocked lines, post You Tube videos or send e-mails when they want something made public.  In a 10-minute speech, Abdulazeez says he is second in command to Abubakar Shekau, the man who is believed to lead the group. 
 
Reading a statement in the local Hausa language, Abdulazeez urges all Boko Haram members to lay down their weapons and also to tell their friends so security forces can arrest anyone “carrying arms or killing under our names.”
 
Nobody knows how many factions there are of Boko Haram and which ones may take orders from Abdulazeez.  By their actions, some Boko Haram members appear to want to enforce a harsh form of Islamic law while others are just at war with Nigerian security forces.  
 
Abdulazeez says in return for the cease-fire, the Borno state government, in the heart of the insurgency, has agreed to release imprisoned Boko Haram members.  If the government doesn’t fulfill what he describes as a “promise,” he says the security crisis will continue indefinitely.  
 
Isa Gusau, the spokesperson for the Borno State governor neither confirmed nor denied that officials had met with Abdulazeez.  But, he says, Governor Kashim Shettima has repeatedly called for peace talks with Boko Haram.

"I think he was the first person to speak to speak on the need for dialogue as the best way out of this problem because we are talking about guerrilla warfare.  Even the most advanced countries do not deal with guerrilla warfare easily," Gasau said.

In a text message late Monday, Lieutenant Sagir Musa, a security force spokesperson, said they welcomed the cease-fire announcement but they will not relax operations, and described Abdulazeez as Boko Haram’s leader.  Musa did not comment on the group’s demand to release members.
 
Boko Haram began violent operations in 2009, and it has killed an estimated 3,000 people in attacks on churches, schools government and newspaper offices, security forces, markets and the local United Nations headquarters.  
 
Human rights groups have accused security forces of killing hundreds more in operations to subdue the militant group.

Late last year, an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan said the government would not negotiate with Boko Haram until the secretive organization supplied actual real people to hold peace talks.  The aide said previous talks had failed because you “can’t discuss with the air.”
 
Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri, Nigeria

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid