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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid