Boko Haram Writes FG Asking For Dialogue

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The
Islamist militant group,  Boko Haram,  has distributed a letter
requesting dialogue  with the Federal  Government.
The
letter, which was  sent through head of journalists in Borno State, Aba
Kakami, came less than 72 hours after a double suicide bombing  led to the
death of  at least 17 people at the Protestant Military Church, Armed
Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, Kaduna State.
Kakami 
has often received and distributed statements from the sect.

According
to an  international news agency,Reuters, the letter was
signed by Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, a man known  in 
security sources to be a moderate senior member of the sect.

The
letter, if  genuine,  would  mark a change  of
departure  of  tactics by the  group which has been been
responsible for  many  bombings in the country.
Nearly
3,000 people have died violent deaths related to the conflict since the sect launched
its uprising in 2009, according to a count by Human Rights Watch. Boko Haram
has replaced militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta over that time to become the
biggest security threat to Nigeria.
Communication 
with Boko Haram , which   wants  imposition of 
sharia  on Nigeria, has been even more sporadic than normal since the
military killed its  spokesman, Abu Qaqa, in September.
Abdulazeez
first contacted journalists in Maiduguri earlier this month, setting conditions
for peace talks in the teleconference and nominating former Head of
State,   Muhammadu Buhari , as a mediator. Buhari has since declined
the offer.
“We
are by this letter of invitation to our respected elders proving to government
that we are not joking with the government, but we are awaiting the response of
those concerned,” Abdulazeez said in the letter.
Abdulazeez
said he was speaking on behalf of Abubakar Shekau, the sect’s leader.
But
even if Abdulazeez does represent Shekau, the extent to which Boko Haram is
controlled by Shekau is in doubt, and analysts think military pressure has
fragmented it.
The
letter nominated  Imam Gabchiya, an official  of  the
University  of  Maiduguri, Borno State as  mediator.
There
was no immediate reaction from  Federal  Government officials, but
President Goodluck Jonathan  had said on November 18 that no talks were
going on with Boko Haram .
The
handover of the letter came three days after  the  army offered a
N290m  bounty for information leading to the capture of 19 leading members
of the sect.
Meanwhile,
the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Olasa’ad Ibrahim, has  said  that
due process will be followed in meting out punishment  to  soldiers
on duty when suicide bombers attacked the military church in Jaji on Sunday
Ibrahim,
who was in Kaduna on Tuesday,   noted that the board  set up to
investigate the twin attacks  would spell out the appropriate punishment.
He
described  the incident as sad and pointed out that the military 
would  put some mechanism in place to forestall future occurrence.
The
CDS, who spoke  with newsmen shortly after visiting the scene, argued that
the  explosions  were  least expected.
He
said, “We expect that the Board of Enquiry will reflect blame worthiness of the
few and then we will treat it on its merit, but we cannot pre-empt what took
place and how the bomb-laden vehicles got into the cantonment.
“We
also respect  due process and the rule of law and there are codes out
there that we must insist on because those are the only ways we can render
justice but the report itself is the only thing that can define precisely who
is to blame and who is not to be blamed and who is to be rewarded for exemplary
actions.
“Perhaps
with the lesson now, we could not afford to take anything for granted. So, we
will put it behind us quickly after the board of inquiry and then we will put
some other mechanisms in place to prevent such  incident in the future.”
Also,Canada
has warned  its citizens against all un-essential travels to Nigeria.
In
its travel advisory  accessed by one of our correspondents on
Tuesday,  Canada  said that  “terrorist attacks could occur at
any time and could target locations frequented by expatriates and foreign
travellers, including hotels, bars, markets and shopping centres.”
It
therefore enjoined  Canadians  “to maintain a high level of security
awareness in these public areas.”
The
travel warning noted that there have been a number of large scale coordinated
terrorist attacks over the last few months.
The
United Kingdom had   in its website, on Monday, 
also   warned its citizens against  travels to Borno and Yobe
states  as well as the riverine areas of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom
and Cross River states. Its specifically listed Warri and Kano  among the
no go areas.
Source:
Punch

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