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Boko Haram Denies Ceasefire Claim
International

Boko Haram Denies Ceasefire Claim

Boko Haram has denied claims by Nigeria’s government that it has agreed to a ceasefire and will release more than 200 abducted schoolgirls. The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said the girls had been married off since being taken, according to the BBC. Nigeria’s army announced a ceasefire with the militants on 17 October, saying the girls would soon be freed.
But violence has continued since news of the alleged truce, including a fatal bomb blast on Friday. Boko Haram has been fighting an insurgency since 2009, with some 2,000 civilians reportedly killed this year. In a video released on Friday, Abubakar Shekau said: “We have not made ceasefire with anyone. We did not negotiate with anyone. It’s a lie.”
Analysts says the video will come as a huge embarrassment for the Nigerian government after it said it had secured a ceasefire with Boko Haram. The militants sparked global outrage in April by abducting 219 schoolgirls from the remote north-eastern town of Chibok, in Borno state. Their continued captivity has led to criticism of the Nigerian government’s efforts to secure their release.
Hopes were raised earlier this month when Nigeria’s chief of defense staff, Alex Badeh, announced a truce with the group.
“They’ve assured us they have the girls and they will release them,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic.”
Last week, Human Rights Watch said in a report that Boko Haram was holding more than 500 women and young girls captive and that forced marriage was common in the group’s camps.

 

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