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Shekau's ouster: Nigeria treads cautiously

02 August 2013, 16:40

Abuja - Nigerians are cautious on the sincerity of the Boko Haram’s commitment to a peaceful resolution for the terrorism crisis in the country despite the reported disposition of its leader, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, and his successor’s pledge to negotiate with government.

Local media had reported that the leader of the radical Islamic sect was shot and deposed by a faction of the sect led by Abu Zamira Mohammed.

Zamira was quoted as saying that he was now in charge of negotiation with the Nigeria government’s amnesty committee for Boko Haram members.

With military sources are yet to confirm the veracity of Shekau’s ouster, some stakeholders say the reports might be an attempt by Zamira to deceive  government and gain relevance.

A top military source who did not want to be mentioned, told our correspondent that the Joint Military Taskforce was yet to verify if Shekau was indeed attacked and ousted by  a faction of the sect.

" I can tell you that as of today, the JTF is yet to get any confirmation about whether Shekau was shot and killed. Anybody can make claims but until we get proof, we cannot confirm whether the sect leader has been shot and overthrown from his position".

The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Kabiru Turaki, n Thursday refused to answer questions by journalists on who among the sect leadership the committee was directly discussing resolutions with.

Kabiru who is also Nigeria Minister of Special Duties could only say engaging in constructive dialogue with key members of Boko Haram had remained a “major challenge” for the Presidential Committee on Amnesty.

The committee was embarrassed recently when after declaring that it had enter a cease fire agreement with the sect members, Shekau refuted the claim.

Reacting to the news about the deposition of Shekau, the Northwest  Vice Chairman, of Northern Youth Forum Bello Abdulkadir challenged the validity of the claim.

"Government has to be careful in dealing with the issue at hand. If Abu Zamiru claims Shekau has been deposed as Boko Haram leader, government should insist on concrete evidence from him. For all we know, Shekau and his group may surface tomorrow and bomb another target in the country,"
Abdulkadir said

He also urged the committee to open the door to any faction of the sect that desired negotiation.

A Muslim cleric, Wahab Abdulahi, said the amnesty committee should be diplomatic when dealing the sect.

“If Shekau has been deposed and the new leader wants to negotiate with government, it is good for the country. My advice however is for the committee should employ diplomacy.

"If Abu and his group are ready to cease fire, they should be given the chance. If Shekau suddenly emerges from nowhere tomorrow, the door for negotiation should also be opened for him if he desires negotiation,"

The Boko Haram has killed more than 5 000 in a terror campaign mostly in the northern parts of the country.

The group’s targets are government  institutions, churches, mosques and schools. - CAJ News



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