Boko Haram self-proclaimed leader, Abubakar Shekau, has disclaimed a ceasefire offer by a so-called commander of the Islamic sect, Muhammed Abdulazeez Ibn Idris, to the Federal Government in January.
Shekau, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP), in an undated video given to reporters in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday, said his group was not involved in any peace talks with the government.
The release of the video coincided with the killing of 20 members of his group yesterday in a deadly encounter with soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State, Operation Restore Order.
Ibn Idris, who claimed to be the commander of the sect in charge of Borno North and South, last January had told reporters in Maiduguri that the decision to declare the ceasefire was reached after weeks of intense discussions with the state government.
He said he had the authority of Shekau to declare the ceasefire and warned that anybody who broke the ceasefire by continuing terrorist activities would be dealt with.
�For sometime now, we the members of Jamaatul ahlil Boko Haram sunna lidawati wal jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, have recently had a meeting and dialogue with the government of Borno State where we resolved that given the prevailing situation, there is the need for us to cease fire.
�We, on our own, in the top hierarchy of our movement under the leadership of Imam Abubakar Shekau, as well as some of our notable followers, agreed that our brethren in Islam, both women and children, are suffering unnecessarily; hence, we resolved that we should bring this crisis to an end.
�We, therefore, called on all those that identify with us and our course, to from today, lay down their arms. Let every member who hears this announcement relay it to the next member who hasn’t heard,” he said at the time.
But Ibn Idris, who Shekau threatened to kill for declaring the ceasefire, said the group has had difficulties placing its messages online recently, requiring them to pass it onto messengers.
Shekau said: �Whoever kills any of our members should await grave retaliation from us.”
However, as the government continues with the onslaught to wipe out terrorism, 20 members of the sect were killed in a confrontation with the military at Monguno, about 200 kilometres from Maiduguri.
Two other leaders of the terrorist group, said to be responsible for the detonation of bombs during last Thursday’s visit to Maiduguri by opposition governors, have also been arrested.
JTF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement yesterday, said the militants were killed when they attempted to attack the military barracks in the town.
The statement read: �Information available to the Joint Task Force, Operation Restore Order, indicated that some Boko Haram terrorists attempted to attack a military barracks at Monguno, Monguno Local Government Area, Borno State, at about 5a.m. today (yesterday), Sunday, March 3.
�The attack was repelled by the FOBs and JTF troops at the outskirts of the barracks. The encounter led to the death of 20 Boko Haram terrorists while three four-wheel vehicles and eight motorcycles used by the terrorists were destroyed.”
Musa added that seven AK47 rifles, 10 rocket propelled grenades, two RPG tubes, a large quantity of assorted ammunition and eight assorted magazines were recovered from the terrorists.
The statement said based on intelligence, a special operation was conducted which led to the arrest of the two high profile Boko Haram commanders allegedly responsible for the explosions in Maiduguri last Thursday.
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