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Weakened Boko Haram Slumps To Ceasefire 

 By Yerima Kini Nsom

The Nigerian government has disclosed that the apparently weakened Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has agreed to a cease-fire, ending sustained dastardly attacks that have claimed over 4000 lives in Nigeria since 2009. 
Nigeria’s highest ranking military official, General Alex Badeh, announced the truce on Friday, October 17, in Abuja.
“I wish to inform this audience that a ceasefire agreement has been concluded between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the al-Sunna lil-Da’awah Wa al-Jihad (Boko Haram),” the Nigerian Government website quoted Badeh as having said. The military official refused to call the Islamic sect by its popular name and rather preferred its Arabic Language name, al-Sunna lil-Da’awah Wa al-Jihad.
General Badeh is quoted as having ordered all the country’s military chiefs to abide by the peace deal. A certain Danladi Ahmadu who introduced himself as Secretary General of Boko Haram, told the Hausa Service of the Voice of America, VOA, that the Chibok girls who were kidnapped, will be released today, Monday October 20 in Chad. 
“The girls are alive and in good condition and unharmed,” the Nigerian media quoted Ahmadu as saying, after the peace deal was concluded.
 A top Nigerian aide, Hassan, told the VOA’s Hausa Service that the two parties reached a ceasefire deal after talks in Saudi Arabia. Chadian President, Idriss Derby, and some high level Cameroonian officials, were among those who brokered the peace deal. Following the deal, the 219 Chibok girls will be handed over to the Chadian President for transfer to the Nigerian officials.
It was reported that the Nigerian and Boko Haram authorities will meet in the Chadian capital N’Djamena to discuss the latter’s demands, such as the release of the captured terrorists. The Nigerian authorities tried hard to convince the public that the peace deal was real.
“Already, the terrorists have announced the ceasefire in furtherance for the desire for peace. In this regard, the Government of Nigeria has, in a similar vein, declared a ceasefire,” General Badeh said in a statement in Abuja.
However, there have been mixed reactions to the peace deal. French President, Francois Hollande, told a news conference in Paris that it was good news. He said the Chibok girls will be released in the “coming days.” It is worth noting that France convened and hosted a meeting that issued a declaration of war in Paris recently, following the abduction of the Chibok school girls. 
On the contrary, the US, which had sent a team, including hostage negotiators to help free the Chibok girls, reacted with doubt to the ceasefire announcement. “We cannot independently confirm that at this point,” the US Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf, was quoted to have told reporters.
According to observers, the announcement of the ceasefire has triggered mixed feelings of relief and skepticism in Africa’s most populous country. This is because previous reports of a ceasefire between the Federal Government and the terrorist group in 2013 turned out to be untrue. A Nigerian journalist who spoke to The Post from Abuja said many people have adopted a “wait-and-see attitude.” One former journalist, Ahmed Salkida, who is said to be having close links with the sect, is said to be casting doubt on the ceasefire deal.
But unlike in 2013, the hierarchy of the sect has not refuted the ceasefire claims of the Nigerian Government. The Islamic killer sect has claimed several thousands of lives after wrecking havoc in Nigeria and Cameroon. Since 2009, it is said to have damaged property worth billions in hard currency. But, it drew unprecedented international attention when it kidnapped the 276 girls in Chibok on April 14. Over 50 of them are said to have escaped.
Before last Friday’s ceasefire announcement, Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, was under heavy criticisms for doing too little to release the girls. For one thing, the announcement came at a time that President Goodluck is expected to launch his bid for re-election in next year’s election.

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