Nigeria Says Ceasefire Agreed with Boko Haram
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Nigeria claimed to have reached a deal with the Boko Haram rebel group on a ceasefire and the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls but doubts immediately surrounded the purported breakthrough.
Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh told senior military officials from Nigeria and Cameroon meeting in Abuja that a "ceasefire agreement" had been concluded between the government and the rebels.
"I have accordingly directed the service chiefs to ensure immediate compliance with this development," he added.
Badeh's announcement came after a senior aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Hassan Tukur, told AFP news agency an agreement to end hostilities had been reached following talks, as well as for the release of 219 girls held captive since April.
However, sources told Al Jazeera that substantial progress had been reached in negotiations about the abducted girls but that no definite deal had been agreed.
A precedent of previous government and military claims about an end to the deadly five-year conflict and the fate of the missing teenagers left many observers cautious.
Jonathan is expected to declare his bid for re-election in the coming weeks, and positive news about the hostages and the violence would likely give him a political boost.
Shehu Sani, a Boko Haram expert who has negotiated with the group on behalf of the government said had "never heard" of Danladi Ahmadu, whom Tukur claimed represented the rebels at talks.