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US backs Boko Haram's amnesty

11 April 2013, 11:29

Lagos - The United States says it backs Nigeria's efforts to end the insurrection by local Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, including granting its members amnesty.

The Nigerian government is considering dropping its pursuit of the terrorist Islamic sect in exchange for a cessation of hostilities that have led to the loss of thousands of lives.

Boko Haram is responsible for bomb attacks in public places in northern Nigeria in which property and lives have been lost.

However, some Nigerians and rights groups have condemned the amnesty, demanding justice.

The US, which refuses to negotiate with terrorists, seems to have softened its stance in this instance and says it will support the Nigerian position.

Gregory Lawless, Political Counsellor at the US Embassy, said in a teleconference the Obama administration would support amnesty for Boko Haram if this was a cure to the violence that has destabilised northern Nigeria.

"We think it is a positive development. We will work with the Nigerian government as it develops its own policy approach to counter violent extremism," Lawless said.

He added: "Security concerns in Nigeria would be addressed through our regional security cooperation working group as part of the Bi-National Commission.

"We are looking at a holistic approach to address the unmet grievances of the population, especially in the north. Through that mechanism, we think by broadening the scope of response to violent extremism, we believe that we will be addressing some of those issues in a more fundamental way."

However Lawless said the US would not recant its condemnation of the pardon granted to former Bayelsa Governor, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha, by President Goodluck Jonathan.

"The situation has not changed," he said.

- CAJ News


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