Nigeria’s government is in talks with Islamist militant group Boko Haram about a possible ceasefire with the ultimate aim of securing a permanent cessation of hostilities, the country’s information minister said on Sunday.
It is the first time in years the government has said it is talking to Boko Haram about a ceasefire in an insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people since 2009. President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has repeatedly said it is willing to hold talks with the group.
“Unknown to many, we have been in wider cessation-of-hostility talks with the insurgents for some time now,” said Information Minister Lai Mohammed in an emailed statement outlining the background to the release of more than 100 schoolgirls freed last week by the group.
They had been kidnapped on Feb. 19 from the northeastern town of Dapchi. The kidnap of about 110 schoolgirls was the biggest mass abduction since around 270 girls were taken from the northeastern town of Chibok, in 2014.