In an announcement which had left many wondering about the status of the Chibok girls, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau reportedly denied a cease-fire deal with the Nigerian government. A video surfaced on Friday, Oct. 31 which reportedly states Boko Haram denies any involvement with the Nigerian government regarding the over 200 Chibok girls who went missing in April of this year. After the Chief of Defense announced ongoing negotiations in Chad had occurred in regards to an agreement made with the extremist group, it appears Boko Haram has clarified the fate of the missing girls.
Premium Times of Nigeria had stated that Shekau, who had also been reported killed earlier this year, appeared in a video in which he denied being involved in any truce with government officials. In October, reports had also surfaced that ongoing negotiations had led to a cease-fire agreement and the possible release of the missing Chibok girls. Such events had reportedly taken place in neighboring Chad. Attacks continued, however, and even with the most recent reports stating the possible release of the missing girls, it appears the girls are still missing.
USA Today reported Shekau had stated the issue of the missing girls was long forgotten by the group since they were married off to militant members awhile ago. In fact, recent reports had indicated Boko Haram militants had kidnapped around 60 more girls after negotiations were set to begin on Oct. 16. Since then, attacks have also taken place in Borno and Adamawa, according to Premium Times.
Premium Times also reported Shekau had denied knowing Danladi Adamu, who reportedly spoke on behalf of Boko Haram to government officials. Guardian Liberty Voice stated others who were in touch with top officials of Boko Haram had originally reported Adamu as an impostor even while government officials continually reported negotiations were still under way.
Boko Haram denies partaking in a cease-fire deal with the Nigerian government and Shekau reportedly stated that once this war had started, there was no going back. Boko Haram does not appear to have any intent on negotiating with government officials, even though reports had indicated there was an interest in the release of top militant officials. It also appears that Boko Haram may allegedly be threatening the life of a German national, according to footage from the video.
The New York Times had reported an alarm should have gone off when Shekau had not released an official statement by video and the official spokesman for the Nigerian government had kept quiet. In fact, prior news on similar announcements had also proved not to hold any worth because they had also appeared untrue, and this appears to be the case for the current reported negotiations.
The New York Times also stated around 500 women and girls have been kidnapped since 2009. These women reportedly end up having to convert to Islam and marry militants because, as the New York Times stated, Shekau refers to women as mere “slaves.” Some girls who had reportedly escaped from Boko Haram camps had reportedly told stories of mistreatment, which included rape, beatings, and the possibility of death.
USA Today stated Rona Peligal, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch had stated the Nigerian government did not interview the girls and women who were able to escape from the threshold of Boko Haram. Officials did not appear to have any interest or obligation to tend to these missing women and girls and may have even left them to fend for themselves after such horrific experiences, Peligal was reported as saying.
Boko Haram denied a cease-fire deal with the Nigerian government and some reports indicated the entire agreement may have been a political ploy for President Jonathan Goodluck. He had announced his bid for re-election around the same time the cease-fire agreement was supposed to start on Oct. 16. The New York Times stated in either case, it does not matter because President Goodluck is well-liked in Lagos, which reportedly favors his presidency over the issue of Boko Haram.
By Liz Pimentel
See also Guardian Liberty Voice