A former United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington, has said that the US will not stand in the way of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to negotiate with Boko Haram.
The former diplomat, however, stressed that Washington would not support any attempt by the Nigerian Government to offer money to the terrorist group in exchange for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
“The American position is refusing to negotiate (with terrorists) for the release of prisoners by paying a ransom on the feeling that if you pay a ransom to release somebody you will only encourage the terrorists to take other prisoners. If President Buhari thinks negotiation is likely to bring about some kind of change I don’t think that will bring opposition officially from the US to his negotiating with Boko Haram.
“I think it is extremely important that we get back as many of the Chibok girls as we can. My own personal view is that I will think of anything that can be done to bring back the girls. I have no idea of what the President is thinking about doing. There are all kinds of rumours but no real facts. So, I will support any successful efforts to get the girls back”, Carrington said in an interview on Sunday.
He added that despite its publicly declaring allegiance to the Islamic State, “Boko Haram is not as ideological as the IS”.
“The Islamic State has so many adherents among the population. I don’t think Boko Haram has that. Boko Haram is different; it does not represent, I think, a large portion of the population in the areas in which it operates. In fact, so much of its violence is carried out against other Muslims.
“Boko Haram is much more susceptible to being defeated or at least degraded and curtailed by the military might than is IS in the Middle-East because I don’t think it really has that groundswell. Boko Haram does not represent a view of the majority in the North-East of the country otherwise they would not be resorting to the kind of violence like they have been doing”.