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CHIBOK GIRLS! Shekau’s Uncertain Fate Delays Negotiations by samueld0(m): 7:55pm On Sep 20, 2015
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CHIBOK GIRLS! Shekau’s uncertain fate delays negotiations
September 20, 2015 at 4:05 am in News FacebookTwitterSMSWhatsApp
By Soni Daniel,
Northern Region Editor
Is Abubakar Shekau, the acclaimed leader of Boko Haram, alive or dead? This is the question that is reverberating within the camps of the terrorist organisation and causing unease among  top leaders and members of the group, which has been killing and maiming since 2009.
Shekau has not been seen in action for a long time, fuelling speculation that he might have been killed or fatally wounded in battle with the Nigerian armed forces.
The Department of State Security Service (DSS), under the Jonathan administration, had announced the death of the Boko Haram leader many times, and many times he resurfaced in poorly produced videos, claiming he was alive and could not be killed.
The military and intelligence organisations in Nigeria, however, have chosen  to work with the premise that Shekau is alive and must be driven to his early grave for the Boko Haram war to  end.
To them, the capture of the terrorist commander, dead or alive, remains a top priority that must be accomplished before the end of the year to prove to the world that the Buhari administration has no room for compromise with evil.
But Shekau has not featured in any video or released any message to his followers or the Nigerian government in the past four months, as he used to in the past.
His leadership of Boko Haram  came under serious contention in August when the Chadian leader,  Idriss Deby, announced that Shekau was no longer the leader of Boko Haram, having been replaced by one  Mahamat Daoud, an hitherto unknown name in the rank and file of the sect.
Deby, who spoke on the occasion marking the 55th  anniversary of his country, said, “There is someone apparently called Mahamat Daoud, who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government.”
But close to two months, the said Daoud has neither openly accepted the leadership position given him nor made any statement relating to the organisation.
No leader of the group has also made any comment concerning the olive branch extended to the group by the Buhari administration to come forward for dialogue with a view to releasing the over 200 girls the violent men took from their hostel in Chibok, Borno State  in April 2014.
Findings by Sunday Vanguard showed that the fear of  Shekau was responsible for the non-emergence of a new leader even as it has appeared that Shekau has not been seen in the public for many months running.
A source with knowledge in the affairs of the group said the influence of the Boko Haram leader  still looms large and will continue for a long time even if the man was not physically seen by his followers.
One of the sources said: “The fear of Shekau is so pervasive to the extent that no one would dare to declare himself the leader of the group even if he does not show up for a long time to come.
“You can also be sure that no one would go forward to negotiate with Nigeria if Shekau does not give the necessary directives for such a dialogue. What has been happening is that individuals within the Boko Haram camps have been making informal contacts with the Presidency with a view to ending the crisis.
“But as a group, Shekau has not given any formal order for its commanders and leaders to open negotiations with the Nigerian government.”
There were claims ‘last night, that if anyone not authorised by Shekau declared himself as the leader of the group, his  commanders could eliminate such person within 24 hours, apparently to prove that his group is in control of the architecture of the terrorists network within and outside Nigeria.
“I tell you that no person is bold enough to come and claim Shekau’s position despite his disappearance from the scene for a long time. Everyone still defers to him. Whether dead or alive, Shekau holds the key to  the Boko Haram establishment. As it is, anyone who dares to speak against him could be a dead man in the next 24 hours. That is how powerful, feared and adored the man, Shekau, is perceived by his followers in and outside Nigeria,” one source explained.
The stalemate in the Boko Haram camp notwithstanding, the Buhari administration is pressing ahead with a mindset to pound the insurgents from land and air while holding out its olive branch for dialogue.
While in France, last week, President Muhammadu Buhari made it clear that while he was ready to discuss a ceasefire with the sect, he was not in a hurry to open talks with phantom groups but with the real leaders of the group to avoid the mistakes of the past where the Presidency was made to part with hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money in the name of negotiating with the terrorists.
For instance, in one of such tactless outings, last year, a top Presidency official was said to have made Nigeria to part with at least $23 million (about N2.3 billion) under the guise of sealing a ceasefire with Boko Haram leaders in Ndjamena, the Chadian capital.
But shortly after a former Chief of the Defence Staff and a principal staff in the Presidency had announced the deal, the real Boko Haram leaders came out to disown the ceasefire.
Cautious approach
That suspicion between the government and the sect is yet to clear and that may be responsible for the cautious approach  deployed by both sides in the current move to  secure  a dialogue.
“It is true there has been an informal line of communication between the Presidency and the sect members but the leadership has not mandated anyone on its behalf to begin discussions with the government,”a source explained.
“Unlike before when the DSS, Office of the NSA and other agencies of the Presidency were all reaching out to even phantom groups and individuals claiming to be representing the sect and claiming non-existing peace, this president has not made any formal contact with the sect yet.
“Neither the military nor the security agencies have made any direct discussion with any sect leader so far.
“What you are seeing now is being done out of the suspicion by some of the key sect leaders that the current heat being unleashed by the military could destabilise the strongholds of Boko Haram and render them ineffective if they don’t end the war now on a negotiation table.”
It was learnt that some of the sect members, who have managed to reach out to the Buhari administration, had also suggested ways in which the planned negotiation could be carried through to avoid the high level of suspicion and subterfuge which ruined previous efforts at dialogue in the past.
Buhari, it was learnt, is shocked at the level of penetration of the sect in the North-East communities as a result of the indoctrination of ignorant  persons thereby prolonging the decimation of the sect by the military.
The sustained military offensive by the Buhari administration is also said to be creating some discomfort in the sect’s camps, forcing some shaken militants to surrender on their own to the government side, according to information from the Centre for Crisis Communication, CCC, which issued a statement in Abuja last week.
It was learnt that the Federal Government was studying the possibility of raising a credible committee to handle fresh dialogue with the sect with a view to ending the crisis once and for all.
Concession
It will be recalled that while addressing Nigerians resident in France on Tuesday, Buhari had admitted that his administration had begun negotiation with Boko Haram with a view to ending the violence and destruction in the North-East.
The President said he was particularly worried over the fate of the 219 Chibok school girls believed to be still in the custody of the terrorists almost two years after they were seized from their hostels in Borno State.
Last week, Senator Shehu Sani, who represents Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, raised  the hope that the Chibok girls were alive but urged Buhari to take steps to rescue them before ending the Boko Haram war.
He pleaded with the Presidency to concede something to the terrorists in its bid to get back the girls and end the war.
According to him, the sticky issue has always been the refusal of the government to release the top commanders of the sect, which remains a key demand of the sect.
While welcoming the decision by the Buhari administration to open discussions with the sect, Sani advised government to ensure that the negotiating team was made up of people capable of bringing the insurgents to the negotiating table.
The senator said, “We need credible personalities who have some level of recognition or respect with the insurgents and a second team to oversee the terms of agreement to their full implementation.
“These are very much necessary to achieve success and put an end to insurgency. But we must make it very clear that we will not in any way surrender our sovereignty to any terror group.
“We will not concede any territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to any insurgent group, and we will not in any way jettison our secular principles as a democratic state. If these caveats are clear then we are all out for negotiations,” he said.
While explaining that the negotiation was needed mainly to free the Chibok girls and other persons kidnapped by the insurgents and also achieve a cease fire to give room for further dialogue, Sani asked the two sides to come to the table with an open mind and be ready to make concession.
“Negotiations require the government to be ready to make concessions by releasing some of the insurgents in return for the Chibok girls and other persons kept in captivity.”
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Re: CHIBOK GIRLS! Shekau’s Uncertain Fate Delays Negotiations by faaiz4ever(m): 8:11pm On Sep 20, 2015
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Re: CHIBOK GIRLS! Shekau’s Uncertain Fate Delays Negotiations by brize(m): 9:03pm On Sep 20, 2015
Chibok scam girls abi?

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