News / Africa

Nigerian Presidency Announces 'Backroom' Talks With Boko Haram

x
Heather Murdock
ABUJA — Nigeria's government says it is in negotiations with Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Some analysts are skeptical the talks will end the violence blamed on the group in northern Nigeria.

There has been a lot of debate among Nigerians recently about the militant group known as Boko Haram. Are they, or are they not holding peace talks with the government?   

On Sunday, the government emphatically said "Yes, they are." Presidential spokesperson Reuben Abati told state-house reporters negotiations are taking place through “backroom channels,” not at a formal table in an air conditioned office.

But there are still doubts. Some analysts say the government could be negotiating with one faction of people claiming to be Boko Haram, while angering another.  

"We do not know who Boko Haram really is, but we have seen some statements in the media by Boko Haram indicating that they actually are not involved in any talks with the government," says Clement Nwankwo, the executive director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja. "So it is still very unclear to us who is having the conversations with the government.”

The statements he mentions came in the form of an e-mailed press release from the group last week. Boko Haram generally talks to the public by calling journalists from blocked phones or sending untraceable e-mails.

The group has claimed responsibility for many deadly bombings and shooting attacks, mostly in the north, the mainly Muslim part of the country. Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram has killed more than 1,000 people since it began violent attacks in 2009.
 
Nwankwo says as long as crushing poverty grips Nigeria’s north, whomever claims to be Boko Haram will be able to recruit young men willing to die for small amounts of money.

“The government needs to take away the fuel from the insurgency, which means that you need to look at providing development, investing in people, creating jobs, reducing corruption levels,” he says.

The militants say their goals are to establish Islamic law in Nigeria and free imprisoned members. Their targets are usually markets, schools, churches, security forces and government buildings.

Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Boko Haram bombing of the local United Nations headquarters that killed at least 25 people.

You May Like

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid