Monday, 1 August 2011

Nigerian government keen to enter negotiations with Boko Haram

Following a number of bombings and attacks across Nigeria, the government says it is keen to begin peace negotiations with Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The government stipulated that it would open talks with the group and report back on progress by 16th August.

There has been no official response to the statement by Boko Harm. The militant group, based in northern Nigeria, is fighting to overthrow the government and turn Nigeria into an Islamic State.

The group, based in Maiduguri, has been responsible for a number of bombings and shooting across Nigeria. The recent resurgence in militant activity comes after a relatively peaceful interval, following a Boko Haram uprising across a number of states in 2009.

In the statement released by the Nigerian government, President Goodluck Janathan appointed seven people, including the ministers of defence and labour, to a negotiation committee. He said the committee's role would be to act "as a liaison between the federal government ... and Boko Haram and to initiate negotiations with the sect".

The statement added that the panel, to be inaugurated on Tuesday 2nd August, would also work with Nigeria's national security adviser to ensure that security forces acted with every "professionalism".

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, AFP

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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