Boko Haram extremists are offering to free more than 200 girls
kidnapped from a boarding school in the town of Chibok in exchange for
the release of militant leaders held by the government, a human rights
activist has told The Associated Press.
The activist said Boko Haram’s current offer is limited to the girls from
the school in northeastern Nigeria whose mass abduction in April 2014
ignited worldwide outrage and a campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls”
that stretched to the White House.
The new initiative reopens an offer made last year to the government of
former President Goodluck Jonathan to release the 219 students in
exchange for 16 Boko Haram detainees, the activist said. He spoke on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters
on this sensitive issue.
Fred Eno, an apolitical Nigerian who has been negotiating with Boko
Haram for more than a year, told the AP that “another window of
opportunity opened” in the last few days, though he could not discuss
He said the recent slew of Boko Haram bloodletting — some 350 people
killed in the past nine days — is consistent with past ratcheting up of
violence as the militants seek a stronger negotiating position.
Eno said the 5-week-old administration of President Muhammadu Buhari
offers “a clean slate” to bring the militants back to negotiations that had
become poisoned by the different security agencies and their advice to
Presidential adviser Femi Adesina said on Saturday that Nigeria’s
government “will not be averse” to talks with Boko Haram.