Home inContext Despite Talks, Boko Haram Launches Attacks

Despite Talks, Boko Haram Launches Attacks

Michael Johnson

Boko Haram militants launched new attacks in villages across the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno over the weekend, leaving dozens dead. The assaults came just days after the central government announced a breakthrough in peace talks with the terrorist organization.

A screenshot of a video showing some of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. (Photo: CNN)

On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 15 people in the contested town of Michka. The area had been subject to fierce fighting earlier this month, when government troops attempted to retake the town from the insurgent group. Meanwhile, eight people died when terrorists rode motorcycles through Shaffa and “started shooting at every possible target,” said a commander of a self-defense militia. The next day in nearby Damboa, suspected Boko Haram members drove pickup trucks into the village and killed 25 people, according to local source.

The recent surge in violence comes shortly after the government in Abuja announced it had signed a cease-fire agreement with the terrorist group last week. According to an Nigerian government spokesman, the insurgents even promised to release 219 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April. But, the terrorist group never confirmed the agreement publicly, leading some analysts to believe that Abuja had not negotiated with the more extremist elements in the organization. Even with the setback, the government promised to continue ceasefire with the militants in Chad.

Ultimately, the premature announcement casts new doubt on the credibility of the Nigerian central government. The failure of the security forces to find the kidnapped school girls after six months also weighs heavily on the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, who faces re-election in February.