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Boko Haram may be getting ready to release the kidnapped Chibok girls, or not. According to New York Times, top military officials in Nigeria claimed to have declared a cease-fire agreement with the Islamist group, Boko Haram. Though the NY Times claimed previous reports of negotiations with Boko Haram had later proved to be untrue, Nigeria’s Premium Times News also reported over 1000 Boko Haram militants may have recently been arrested.
According to Adam Nossiter of NY Times, the Chief of Defense of Nigeria had ordered military personnel to comply with an agreement to cease-fire for “all theaters of operations.” The order may have come after negotiations had taken place for the release of the 200 Chibok girls who went missing in April.
Nossiter mentioned this would not be the first time government officials gave false information regarding the Chibok girls, who were reported kidnapped earlier this year. It would not be the first time reports over a cease-fire with Boko Haram would turn out to be false, either. In fact, Nossiter noted no official statement was made by government officials and only Nigeria media outlets had announced such news.
There is also no news from Boko Haram, the militant group. The leader, Abubakar Shekau, who is believed to make statements in videos and then have it delivered to news organizations, is also not expected to confirm such information. Nossiter stated a journalist believed to have close ties with the group and a possible new recruit may have told Nigerian reporters there was also no confirmation of such news.
BBC News reported a three-day meeting recently took place in Chad between Nigerian and Cameroonian officials, however. The Nigerian military was to comply with orders to cease-fire after meetings had taken place for about a month between Boko Haram representatives and government delegates. Hassan Tukur, presidential aide of Nigeria, reportedly stated the militant group had announced a cease-fire would take place on Thursday, Oct. 16, and that negotiations of the Chibok girls would occur some time next week in the capital of Chad, Ndjamena.
The reports come at a time when Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan is expected to announce his bid for re-election to presidency, according to the NY Times. Nossiter stated this specific election often provokes some type of violence according to numerous analysts. Thus, rumors that Boko Haram may release the Chibok girls and have agreed to a cease-fire may not be true, and may just be a ploy for political agendas. BBC News reported Tukur is “cautiously optimistic,” though.
Meanwhile, Premium Times reported that leaders located in the Southwest region of Nigeria near Lagos may have captured over 1000 Boko Haram militants. The Nigerian news organization stated Sani Kabir, the Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos had stated those who were believed to identify with Boko Haram were handed over to security forces immediately. Even though the militant group was reported as being a problem for the Nigerian government, support in the region had made sure anyone conducting suspicious activity was properly reported and reprimanded, primarily to prevent any further developments.
Whether the 200 Chibok girls may be released soon, or not, depends on the actuality of any meetings which were reported as taking place between government officials and Boko Haram. Although the militant group appears to remain quiet towards such announcements, nothing which was stated between the groups appears to have been verified, or even taken seriously. As Tukur seems to imply, once negotiations have played out over time and the Chibok girls are released, the world will know if Boko Haram did, in fact, agree to such negotiations.
By Liz Pimentel