How Buhari Will Negotiate With B’Haram – Presidency | Independent Newspapers Limited
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How Buhari Will Negotiate With B’Haram – Presidency

Posted: Jul 5, 2015 at 2:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

* Soldier Killed, Nine Injured, As Six Suicide Bombers Attack Borno Village  • Emir Lampoons Sect As ‘Un-Islamic’

By Chesa Chesa (Abuja) And Onoja Audu (Jos)


Perhaps emboldened by assurances from the international community and cooperation from friendly neighbouring countries, the Federal Government, on Saturday, insisted that it would only negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists from a position of strength, rather than weakness.

The expression of confidence came hours after about six female suicide bombers blew themselves up in Zabarmari village, as panicky villagers fled. In the process, seven people were killed and nine were injured according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday.

Friday night’s attack in the village near Maiduguri, the birthplace of the jihadist group, brings to about 200 the number of people killed by the insurgents in just three days.

In a statement clarifying earlier comments on BBC that President Muhammadu Buhari was amenable to negotiations with the terrorist group, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, explained that the President’s latest stance was not entirely out of place, since most wars and conflicts end up with some form of negotiation.

Femi Adesina, Special Adviser On Media And Publicity

Femi Adesina, Special Adviser On Media And Publicity

According to Adesina, “Most wars, however furious or vicious, often end around the negotiation table. So, if Boko Haram opts for negotiation, the government will not be averse to it.”

“Government will, however, not be negotiating from a position of weakness, but that of strength.

“The machinery put in place, and which will be set in motion soon, can only devastate and decapitate insurgency. It is multi-national in nature, and relief is on the way for Nigeria and her neighbours.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is resolute. He has battled and won insurgency before, he is poised to win again. It is a promise he made to Nigerians, and he is a promise keeper,” he said.

Continuing, Adesina, noted that should “the insurgents want to negotiate, no decent government will be averse to such. Didn’t the Taliban and Americans also negotiate in Afghanistan?”

Describing the latest attack, 10 kilometres from the state capital, a local resident, Haladu Musa, who also fled the village, told AFP on Saturday that “large numbers” of fighters poured into the village, overpowering government forces deployed to prevent the insurgents reaching Maiduguri.

“The soldiers were forced to retreat,” he said.

Then, as people began to flee, the female suicide bombers started blowing themselves up in their midst, killing large numbers of people, he said.

“Most of the casualties came from the suicide bombings,” he said, without being able to give a precise figure of the dead and injured.

“A total of six suicide bombers detonated themselves… killing scores of people while some people were also wounded. A soldier also died,” the Nigerian Army said in a statement without specifying the sex of the bombers.

The Army said troops recovered a jeep full of improvised explosive devices, adding that there was an ongoing search “for any bombs that might have been hidden or left in the area.”

Musa said the militants looted shops and torched “almost half the village” before eventually being repulsed after the military sent in reinforcements.

Danlami Ajaokuta, a civilian vigilante helping the military battle Boko Haram, who also witnessed the attack, spoke of heavy casualties.

“The main concern now is to evacuate and attend to the injured and later recover the dead bodies now lying in the village,” he said, adding that more than 100 injured had been taken to hospital.

Meanwhile Governor Kashim Shettima, on Saturday, visited Zabarmari to assess the community, following the attack, that resulted in the destruction of properties.

Welcoming the governor, District Head of Zabarmari, Malam Bulam Mohammed, urged the military to take urgent steps at ending suspected Boko Haram attacks on villages and remote communities.

This, he added, is imperative to safeguard the lives and property of the villagers against endless attacks by the insurgents, just as he urged the governor to influence the deployment of security personnel to the community to prevent the recurrence of such dastardly attacks.

“Many of our people had fled after they had been traumatized by the attack. But your coming has reassured us of government’s commitment towards securing our lives,” he said.

Once security is provided, he believes, “we shall persuade those fleeing and even those already in other states, to return to the community.”

Also speaking, Mallam Muhammad Bello, a Local Government Councillor, reiterated the plea of the community leader, saying that once security is guaranteed, those who fled would return.

While expressing sadness over the massive exodus of people from the community, Shettima urged them to return, assuring that the state government would provide food items to the community to cushion the effect of the attack.

The governor, who was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, Major General Lamidi Adeosun, also promised to work towards deploying more troops to the area

The Defence Headquarters says a Sport Utility Vehicle, full of Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) was among weapons recovered by troops conducting Cordon and Search Operations after Friday’s suicide bombing attacks.

A statement in Abuja by the Director of Defence, Major Gen. Chris Olukolade said the SUV, along with two Hilux vehicles used by terrorists, were destroyed in the course of pursuit and encounter with a the group, as the terrorists attempted to escape after simultaneous attacks on targets in the communities Thursday and Friday.

“A total of six suicide bombers had detonated themselves around the garage, killing scores of people while some people were also wounded. A soldier also died.

“Military Explosives Ordinance experts, backed by Police Bomb Disposal Units, are continuing with vigorous search for any bombs that might have been hidden or left unexploded in the area,” he said.

Early in the week, militants gunned down worshippers at evening Ramadan prayers, shot women in their homes and dragged men and boys from their beds to kill them in the dead of night.

A young female suicide bomber also killed 12 worshippers when she blew herself up in a mosque.

Emir of Kanam, Alhaji Muazu Babangida, wants Nigerians to rally round the Buhari administration to enable it succeed; saying the government needs prayer and cooperation.

Addressing newsmen in Jos, Plateau State, on Saturday, he lamented the increased spate of bombing during the holy month of Ramadan, urging those involved to repent and reunite with their communities and the nation at large, so that Islam is cleared of all allegations.

“Their actions are not Islamic as they are not in the teaching of the Prophet of Islam nor any Islamic scholar. We want to call on them to look up to God and stop these wanton destruction of lives and properties and to engage in total repentance.

He urged the government to ensure that the issue is totally brought to an end “because people have high expectations from this government and they believe that it can tackle the problem of the insurgency. We call on government to be up and doing in ensuring that it comes to an end. We do not have any country apart from Nigeria and nobody can claim any part of it.  We should ensure total unity and cooperate with our leaders.”