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Nigeria ready to negotiate with terrorist group

Posted on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 11:23

President Goodluck Jonathan’s government is under pressure to negotiate with Boko Haram after its breakaway group Ansaru on Monday claimed responsibility for the Sunday kidnapping of foreigners on a construction site in the northern of state of Bauchi.

Major General Sarkin Yakin Bello, the national coordinator of Counter Terrorism (NCC) and Insurgency in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), announced the government’s new position on Monday.

He told top United States military leaders and their Nigerian counterparts at the National Defense College, in Abuja that the new measures were meant to tackle unrest in northern Nigeria, Mali, Chad and Niger.

“If a credible leadership shows itself, government is ready to negotiate with them,” he said.

“If Shekau can come out, using his usual medium, to renounce violence, the government will be ready for the dialogue.”

He said the government would also set up a national counter terrorism centre to address the security challenges of the country.

”To finally solve the Boko Haram challenge in Nigeria, the umbilical cord between it and other terror groups need to be broken,” he said.

“And that is what is happening right now in Mali. Most of the insurgents in northern Nigeria come from Mali.

”So, we have a primary interest to contain the terrorists in Mali.

“There is a containment interest, which is in our national interest.

“That (Mali) is where Boko Haram members get their training, funding and bases. They are well established there.” 

But he also noted that “in the last two months, the nation’s security agencies have been able to sufficiently degrade the Boko Haram group such that they are incapable of carrying out coordinated attacks in various cities in Nigeria.”

Bello said the National Counter Terrorism Centre would launch a policy to tackle unemployment especially in the north, which is blamed for the rising terrorism.

Ansaru members who kidnapped Italian, British, Greek and Lebanese nationals in Bauchi, are said to have ties to Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb. 

Jonathan has ordered the nation’s security agencies to take “all necessary actions” to locate and rescue the abducted foreigners.

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