Africa

Nigeria, Boko Haram reach truce deal: Officials

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The Nigerian government and the Boko Haram Takfiri militants have agreed to a truce that will facilitate the release of over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group in April.

Speaking in a meeting with senior military officials from Nigeria and Cameroon in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Friday, the head of Nigeria’s military, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said a ceasefire agreement had been concluded between the government and the militants.

“I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development,” he said.

Government security spokesman Mike Omeri stated that the deal included the release of the schoolgirls and other people held captive by the group.

Another Nigerian government spokesman, Doyin Okupe, announced that a “significant number” of the kidnapped girls would be freed soon.

Meanwhile, a senior aide to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Hassan Tukur, said that the agreement came after a month of negotiations with Boko Haram representatives.

On April 14, Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 students from their secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok. Reports say 57 of the girls managed to escape but 219 are still missing.

The abduction case has drawn national and international condemnations. The Nigerian administration has been heavily criticized for what is called its failure to curb the rising violence in the African country.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.

It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its operations in 2009, which have left more than 10,000 people dead so far.

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