Nigeria: Government Proposes Dialogue with Boko Haram

(I considered tacking this post onto the one from earlier today, on dialogue efforts between the Malian government and Tuareg rebels, but I decided the situation in Nigeria merits its own post.)

As commenter Maduka reminds us, government committees and reports in Nigeria – or anywhere – do not always meaningfully affect events on the ground. But I do think it is noteworthy that the Nigerian government, based on a committee’s recommendations, is proclaiming a serious willingness to talk with the rebel movement Boko Haram:

Nigeria is open to eventual dialogue with resurgent Islamist group Boko Haram, which has been blamed on numerous violent attacks, the information minister said Wednesday.

Labaran Maku said the government was appalled by Boko Haram’s methods, which he called “pure terror,” but said dialogue was important.

“If there is an opportunity to speak, if there are elements for example in this terror group that now see the need to renounce violence and engage in dialogue, (the) government has never been averse,” Maku said.

This is not the first time that authorities have floated the idea of dialogue with Boko Haram. Indeed, the fact that the idea keeps surfacing is what makes this latest news significant. It seems likely that some form of dialogue will be part of the government’s long-term approach to dealing with the movement.

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