FG ready for talk with Boko Haram

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
May 14th, 2014
0 Comments
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The Federal Government on Tuesday signalled willingness to negotiate with the Boko Haram sect holding more than 200 schoolgirls, a month after the kidnapping that has provoked global outrage.

“The window of negotiation is still open,” the Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki, told Reuters by telephone.

He spoke a day after Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, posted a video offering to release the girls in exchange for prisoners held by the government.

Senior officials say the government is exploring options and has made no commitment to negotiations for the release of the girls, and Turaki declined to comment on possible talks over the kidnapping itself. Instead, he referred to an amnesty committee that he heads, set up by President Goodluck Jonathan last year to talk to the Boko Haram militants behind a five-year-old insurgency.

The committee’s initial six-month mandate expired without holding direct talks with the rebels, though it has spoken to them through proxies.

It has since been replaced by a standing committee empowered to conduct talks, officials said. Boko Haram has killed thousands of people since 2009 and destabilised parts of northeast Nigeria.

The abductions have triggered a worldwide social media campaign under the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, and prompted the United States, Britain, France and Israel to offer help or send experts to Nigeria.

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