Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nigeria to begin talks with Boko Haram

The Nigerian government plans to begin negotiations with the Boko Haram group. (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Nigeria has announced it plans to start negotiations with the Boko Haram group, which is blamed for bomb attacks and shootings in the northeast of the country.

The Nigerian government issued a statement on Saturday, saying a panel will negotiate with representatives of the group and report back to Abuja by August 16, AFP reported.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has named the seven members of the panel, which includes the ministers of defense and labor and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The panel, which will be inaugurated on Tuesday, would act “as a liaison between the federal government… and Boko Haram and… initiate negotiations with the sect,” the statement said.

Boko Haram has increased attacks on government targets since Nigerian security forces killed their leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in custody in 2009.

On July 10, three people were killed in a bomb blast at a church near the capital Abuja. The Nigerian authorities blamed Boko Haram for the deadly incident.

According to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, ethnic and religious conflicts in Nigeria claimed the lives of over 14,000 people between 1999 and 2009.

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