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Nigerians doubtful of girls' release after Boko Haram truce breached

A woman holds a sign during a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos (file photo).

A wave of violence hours after Nigeria's government announced a truce with Boko Haram raised doubt today about whether more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militants will really be released, deflating the new hopes of their parents.

Nigeria's armed forces chief Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh announced the ceasefire on Friday to enable the release of the girls, who were abducted from the remote northeastern village of Chibok in April.

But Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce and there have been at least five attacks since - blamed by security sources on the insurgents - that have killed dozens. Talks were scheduled to continue in neighbouring Chad tomorrow.

"We were jubilating. We had every reason to be happy (...) but since then the ceasefire has been broken in quite a number of places already," said Lawan Abana, a parent of the one of the missing girls.

He added that there were doubts about the credentials of the reported Boko Haram negotiator Danladi Ahmadu, who was unheard of before. "Can we trust him that he can deliver on this promise of releasing the girls when he has not delivered on the promise of the ceasefire?" Abana said.

The government says the attacks may not have been Boko Haram but one of several criminal groups exploiting the chaos of its insurgency. Analysts point out that Boko Haram is anyway heavily factionalised, so what matters is whether the faction the government is talking to has control over the girls' fate.

"Boko Haram is deeply fractured. The Nigerian government has had a (...) difficult time identifying a Boko Haram representative who could make compromises and guarantee the entire group will observe them," risk consultancy Stratfor said in a note.

"It is quite possible that Abuja has reached an agreement with a legitimate representative of a specific cell (...) that holds the kidnapped schoolgirls captive," it said yesterday.

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Tags:  Nigeria  islamists  Boko Haram  abduction  schoolgirls  truce  World  





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