A group claiming to be a faction of the Jamatu Ahlis Sunnah lil daawati wal jihad sect, popularly known as Boko Haram, said on Monday that it decided to ceasefire in Maiduguri because they had come to a realization that Muslims suffer from the attacks.
The group is led by one Abu Mohamed Abdulazeez who claims to be the second in command in the sect’s leadership hierarchy. He also claimed to have spoken on behalf of the overall leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau.
Mr. Abdulazeez, who spoke in Hausa language, told journalists in Maiduguri that it decided to end the crisis so that fellow Muslims can live peacefully.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Abdulazeez, who also said he heads the Southern and Northern Borno cells of the sect, told reporters that the announcement of the ceasefire followed a series of meetings it held with the government of Borno State where it got commitments from the government that its members in captivity will be released.
“We have also told the government to try to live up to our demands that our members in detention should be released.
“We hope the government will not betray us this time around, because we all know that it was because of the continued detentions of our members that this crisis continued for this long. And if government fails to do as it now promised, then this conflict will never have an end,” he said.
Mr. Abdulazeez called on the members of the sect to lay down their arms and asked government to arrest anyone who took up arms and carried attacks in the name of the sect.
“We, therefore, called on all those that identify themselves 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.
“We have met with the Borno State Government on two occasions and the fallout of the meeting is to ceasefire. Presently we are going to comply with the ceasefire order and by the time we are done with that, then government security agencies can go ahead to arrest whoever they find carrying arms or killing under our names,” he said.
A factional group
Mr. Idris claimed that the sect is factionalised. But he said that those who matter within the sect have embraced the ceasefire.
“Of course there is a faction within us, but the larger faction of our movement is the one in support of this cease fire moves”.
“This message, by the Grace of Allah, comes directly from the office of Imam Abubakar Shekau, the supreme leader of Jamaatul ahlil Sunna lidawati wal Jihad.
“Moreover, once top members of our group including Imam Abubakar Shekau are in support of the need to cease fire, other smaller factions can be dealt with easily,” Mr. Idris said.
Mr. Shekau, had on several occasions announced that the group will not dialogue with the government citing instances where the sect’s appointed emissaries to dialogue were arrested by security agents.
He repeated the same stance in the last video uploaded on online video sharing site -you tube – last October.
The Federal Government had also stated its difficulty in negotiating with the sect.
In a media chat in November last year, Mr. Jonathan said no form of dialogue was taking place because the sect is faceless.
However, in an interview with Aljazeera last week Mr. Jonathan acknowledged that “some NGOs and Journalists are reaching out to Boko Haram.”