Wednesday, August 12, 2015

President of neighbouring Chad claims Islamist

President of neighbouring Chad claims Islamist
sect leader now replaced by deputy who is willing
to enter peace talks
Abubakar Shekau, the head of the Boko Haram
Islamist group that kidnapped more than 200
Nigerian schoolgirls last year, has been ousted as
its leader, it has been claimed.
Shekau, who gained worldwide notoriety after
appearing in a series of videos in which he
threatened to sell the girls as slaves, has been
replaced by another Boko Haram deputy who is
said to be open to peace talks, according to
Idriss Deby, the president of neighbouring Chad.
Mr Deby, whose forces have been fighting Boko
Haram militants around Nigeria’s border areas,
made the comments in a press conference on
Tuesday in which he claimed that the group was
now on the back foot militarily and would be
finished “by the end of the year”.
“There is someone apparently called Mahamat
Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakr
Shekau and he wants to negotiate with the
Nigerian government,” he said. “For my part, I
would advise not to negotiate with a terrorist.”
It was not clear how Mr Deby had obtained his
information, although rumours have been
circulating in recent months that Shekau had
gone on the run or even fled Nigeria altogether as
a result of increased military operations against
Boko Haram by both the Nigerian and Chadian
governments. Little is known as of yet about the
man named by Deby as his successor, whose
name may well be a non de guerre.
Mr Deby was speaking to reporters in the Chadian
capital, N’Djamena, on the 55th anniversary of
Chad’s independence from France. His claims
that Boko Haram are facing imminent defeat will
be questioned by some, however, given the
carnage the group has wreaked in recent days
across its strongholds in north-east Nigeria.

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