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"Be Cautious of Boko Haram’s Ceasefire Announcement" - Army Chief Warns FG

The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sahaad has asked the Federal Government to treat the ceasefire declared by a faction of the Boko Haram Islamic sect with caution.

Admiral Sahaad, who spoke with reporters after a meeting in Abuja, also called on government to strengthen its security operations all over the country to avert further attacks by the group.

According to him, defence officials are excited on the declaration of ceasefire by members of the sect but will not rest on its oars in ensuring the security of lives and properties in Nigeria.

Other security officials in the country also commended members of the group for the ceasefire.

"Be Cautious of Boko Haram’s Ceasefire Announcement" - Army Chief Warns FG

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A faction of the Boko Haram sect had on Monday declared ceasefire after allegedly holding talks with "officials of Borno State Government and leaders of thought from the state."

"I am announcing this ceasefire with the approval and consent of the leader Sheikh Abubakar Shekau. We, therefore, call on all our members to stop all acts of violent immediately and await further directives," said Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who introduced himself as the second in command to Mr Shekau.

He added that members of the Boko Haram should relate the ceasefire message to those "who are not aware or informed of today’s (Monday) development."

Aziz explained: "The Boko Haram ceasefire is nationwide and commences immediately."

He, however, denied the group’s involvement in the recent attacks and killings in Borno and other parts of the North, attributing the violence to the activities of armed robbers and other criminals that allegedly operate under the guise of Boko Haram.

While speaking on the violence that took over Maiduguri recently, Aziz distanced the group from such acts, pointing out that such attacks were politically-motivated by those seeking power in the Borno Emirate Council, government or otherwise, but not in line with the ideology of the group who are fighting for the cause of Allah.

He also urged the Joint Task Force (JTF) and other security agents to respond positively to the ceasefire.

He said: "Talks with government officials on how to surrender our arms and weapons has also commenced," urging members of the sect to cooperate fully, by surrendering their arms and weapons to security agents.

The group had on 1 November 2012 said they were ready to ceasefire and listed some conditions. The conditions included the arrest and prosecution of a former governor of Borno State, and also that the dialogue must take place in Saudi Arabia.

They had also demanded that all their members, who were arrested and under the custody of security agencies be released immediately, just as their wives and children who were displaced following the crises should be rehabilitated into the society to allow room for dialogue with the Federal Government.

Nigerian mediators who were to represent the group in the dialogue with the Federal Government had included Shettima Ali Monguno, Muhammadu Buhari, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari and Barrister Aisha Wakil and her husband.

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