Boko Haram Leaders Disagree Over Ceasefire

Boko Haram Leaders Disagree Over Ceasefire

Confusion over the ceasefire declared by a faction of the fundamentalist Islamic sect, Jamaatul Ahjlil Sunna lidawati wal Jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram,  has persisted with  a   top  member of the group   dismissing any future dialogue with the Federal Government.

Mujhahedeen Marwana, who claims to be another   second-in-command to the  Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, predicated  his  position on the fact  that federal troops had  of  recent allegedly killed at least 47 Boko Haram  emissaries in  failed dialogue efforts.

A United States-based Nigerian online news portal, SaharaReporters, in its report late Tuesday evening, said it was  in possession of an audio interview  which  Marwana   granted  a foreign journalist  by phone  in Hausa language.

On Sunday, a man, Muhammed Abdulaziz, who also   claimed to be the organisation’s  Second  Commander (southern and northern Borno), had in a statement said  they had agreed to  cease fire because of talks they had with the Borno State Government.

Abdulaziz advised members of the sect to lay down their arms, warning that anyone that failed to do so  risked  arrest by security agencies.

 “We are going to comply with the cease- fire order, ‘ he added and then went ahead to proudly announce that “once top members of our group, including Imam Abubakar Shekau, are in support of the need for a ceasefire, other smaller factions can be dealt with easily.”

But in the interview reported by SaharaReporters, Marwana was reported to have  spoken authoritatively about meetings between members of the  group and some top Northerners, including Governor Sule Lamido of  Jigawa  State, a former Minister of Defence, Haliru Bello, and Sheik Dahiru Bauchi.

According to the report, the translation of the interview into English did not provide any context to the meetings.

Marwana   also explained Boko Haram’s predicament in Kano, stating that four principal members of the group were being “unjustly” held there.

Insisting that the four members must first be released as a pre-condition for any future developments, he added that there were others also being held in Abuja, Maiduguri and other locations in the North.

Marwana told his interviewer in Bauchi,   “Many people have called us for dialogue many times but the government is fooling itself, thinking they are clever but [are] deceiving themselves. They are insisting they don’t know us.

“It is false. We have met their representatives many times but because of their evil plan, they kept denying (us) because of their greed and wickedness.”

Marwana, who  reiterated that Boko Haram was following Allah’s instruction to serve Him,  added that the group  was not attacking anyone unjustly.

He asked,  “Before they attack us, have you ever seen us attacking them and their cronies from the beginning? Even pressmen, we have no problem with them except where there were some plots.”

Accusing the government of treachery,  he recalled “the first meeting” following the execution of the former leader of  Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, in Maiduguri.

He said, “We were six in Shehu’s palace in Borno. From there, we were 40 that met in Damaturu and only three of us survived. We went to Kaduna and met in Arewa House; out of 11 of us, 10 were killed by special squad of security agencies around Tafa on Abuja Highway.With all these, who  is  a cheat and who wants trouble? We sat with Governor Sule Lamido, former minister of defence, Haliru Bello and Sheik Dahiru Bauchi. This is what we want our Muslim Ummah to know.”

When contacted, Mr. Emeka Nwakpa, the  Media aide to  Bello, said, “Right now, he (Bello) is not in the country. I have made efforts to reach him and have not been able to.  I will get back to you as soon as I am able to.”

Also, the Director of Information and Communication in Jigawa State, Umaru Kyari, said he was not aware of the meeting.

 “I’m not aware of that meeting, please. I was not told and did not know anything about that,” Kyari said.

The Federal Government had while reacting to the ceasefire  announced by Abdulaziz on Tuesday, said  it would only take Boko Haram  seriously, if it stopped violence in the North for one month.

But the Executive Director of the Civil Rights Congress, Mallam Shehu Sani, on Wednesday  said while he would welcome any attempt to end the violence, he would do so only if it was genuine.

He noted that  Abdulaziz had in the past announced such an offer which only witnessed an escalation of the killings.

A source in Borno State confided in  one of our correspondents that top commanders of the sect had a face-to -face meeting  with government officials.

The meeting was said to have been  informed  by some of the sect members in detention.

The source,  who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, said, “Yes, there was a meeting. Both sides are tired of the violence and the senseless loss of lives.

“The conditions of their members in detention have been improved with the provision of some basic amenities, in exchange they have been cooperating.”

When contacted, the Director of Press to the Borno State Governor, Mallam Isa Gusau, was non-committal  about the meeting.

He, however, said the governor welcomed the offer of ceasefire and “any move towards bringing lasting peace to Borno State.”

Gusau said, “His Excellency has always said at the end of the day, dialogue would be the solution. Right from the day he took office, he has offered to hold dialogue with the group to find a way to end the violence which has held out dear state down for so long. We see this as a window of opportunity to end the violence.”


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