Information available on the website of foremost American news agency, Voice of America (VOA), has it that someone who claims to be a spokesman for the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram says the group is engaged in direct talks with the government on ending violence in the country’s north.
Habu Mohammed, as the individual has identified himself, claims to be a deputy to Boko Haram leader Sheikh Abubakar Shekau. He says the militant group decided to initiate the peace moves in response to numerous public appeals for peace in the country. The statement was given to VOA in Mecca.
So far, the Nigerian government has not responded to the claim, but senior Nigerian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the talks to VOA. However, they have declined to provide additional details.
In the past, several attempts by the Nigerian government to engage Boko Haram in dialogue have failed. The militant group has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and says it does not recognize the Nigerian government or the constitution.