By Ndahi Marama, with Agency reports
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau yesterday dismissed claims about ceasefire talks between his group and the government, even as Federal Government officials are now trading blames over the phantom ceasefire deal brokered by the President of Chad, Idriss Déby.
A new Boko Haram video obtained by AFP yesterday showed militants on an armoured vehicle parading down a road in an unidentified town they apparently control and the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau preaching to the residents.
Boko Haram had already renamed Gwoza in Borno as Darul Hikma or House of Wisdom and Mubi in Adamawa as Madinatul Islam which means City of Islam.
In the 44-minute video, Shekau, who is pictured in close-up shots dismissed government claims about ceasefire talks and threatened to kill the man who presented himself as Boko Haram’s negotiator.
The video, which was delivered through the same channels as past messages, shows armed men lined alon
g a well-paved road, with three pick-up trucks, with heavy weapons also visible.
Black crested flags associated with the Islamist group are also shown.
In the video, Shekau restated a call he first made in August, saying, “We have indeed established an Islamic caliphate. To everyone living in Islamic Caliphate, we convey our greetings,” he said, specifically mentioning “brethren” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Shishan (an Islamist term for Chechnya), Yemen, Somalia and “The caliphate in Iraq and Syria.”
A graphic shown later includes a picture the IS group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as well as a portion of the message his group issued on July 1, proclaiming a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
How Chadian President fooled Nigeria on phantom Boko Haram ceasefire
Meanwhile, it was gathered yesterday how the Federal Government was taken for a ride by the president of Chad, Idriss Deby over the phantom ceasefire deal with Boko Haram
A source, who was involved in the negotiations told online news medium, TheCable that the Federal Government was still uncertain if the dummy was deliberately sold to Nigeria by Déby or if the Chadian president himself was hoodwinked into believing it was genuine.
Déby was said to be working for Boko Haram as he has refused to communicate with Nigeria since the insurgents renewed their attacks.
“Nigerian government officials no longer have access to Déby, who is now said to be sick. It appears he set us up to drop our guard and allow Boko Haram to gain ground,” the official said.
A man claiming to be the general secretary of Boko Haram named Danladi Ahmadu, had told the Voice of America on October 17 that the government was negotiating with representatives of the group.
Alex Badeh, an air chief marshal and chief of defence staff later addressed the media asking Nigerians soldiers to cease fire because of the “agreement”, which he said included releasing the 219 Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity.
TheCable also reported how Déby put the deal together, revealing how he said Boko Haram got in touch with him, how he authenticated the message and how he got the Nigerian government involved in the negotiations. A journalist with links to the group had however described the claim as “shadows and bubbles” and warned Nigerians not to believe it.
Not long after that, Boko Haram became more ferocious in their attacks, taking over more Nigerian towns, including the country home of Badeh.
A government official, who spoke with TheCable pointed accusing fingers at Déby, accusing him of setting a trap for Nigeria.
According to the source, “The period of the phantom negotiations gave the terror group time to regroup, reinforce and restrategise, which is the intent of Déby for asking the Nigerian government to negotiate a ceasefire with Boko Haram. As soon as Nigeria began to make a lot of gains in the war against Boko Haram, owing to the efforts of the military and President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been discussing with regional leaders to halt the insurgency, and at a time the commanders of the sect were being rounded up, that was when the Chadian president approached the Nigerian government asking that it mediates between the parties in the conflict.
“The discussions between the government and the Chadian president on Boko Haram started in September. However, Déby said he was already talking with Boko Haram.
“The government was trying to verify the authenticity of Boko Haram’s representatives in the supposed negotiations, but Déby asked the Nigerian government to take a chance that he had done the verification already. He affirmed that Boko Haram’s representatives were truly standing in for the group in the negotiations.”
It was at this stage the government nominated the principal secretary to the president, Awwal Tukur, to be part of the negotiations in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
“Tukur was the one spearheading the dialogue with Boko Haram on behalf of the Nigerian government. He had the first contact with group. It was still in the middle of the supposed negotiations that Danladi Ahmadu announced on Voice of America that the group had ceased fire. Following the announcement of ceasefire by the group, the Nigerian government equally announced a ceasefire on October 17 for the supposed negotiations to continue.
“A Nigerian delegation left for Chad on October 21 for talks with Boko Haram, but the Chadian president became evasive. The Nigerian delegation was told that Déby was sick and that the meeting be rescheduled for October 23.
“However, on that date, the delegation was told that the Chadian president was still sick after waiting for six hours. The delegation made visits to Chad a number of times, but met a brickwall.
“As Boko Haram’s resumed attacks grew in intensity, the Nigerian government became worried. Many attempts were made to inquire from the Chadian president, who was supposed to be mediating between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, but the attempts were all futile.
“France was privy to the botched negotiations, but said nothing just like the Chadian government.
“It became clear to the Nigerian government that Déby was working for Boko Haram. The government of Chad has not said a word to the Nigerian government since Boko Haram’s resumed onslaughts. It has simply refused to make any comment or communicate with the Nigerian government.
“The Nigerian government has also ceased to speak with the Chadian government on the matter since it is now clear that Chad is working with Boko Haram.”
Monarch of captured town appeals to Jonathan
Meanwhile, the emir of Gwoza in Borno State, Alhaji Mohammed Timta has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to redeem his pledge on the recapture of his chiefdom being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents for over three months.