A faction of Boko Haram which last week released 21 of more than the 200 abducted Chibok girls is willing to negotiate the release of 83 more of the girls, according to President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman.
Garba Shehu, the spokesman to the President, said the Islamic State-allied faction of Boko Haram is willing to negotiate with the Nigerian government for the release of the girls.
He reportedly told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone, “These 21 released girls are supposed to be tale bearers to tell the Nigerian government that this faction of Boko Haram has 83 more Chibok schoolgirls.
“The faction said it is ready to negotiate if the government is willing to sit down with them,” he added.
According to Shehu, the splinter group said the rest of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls were with the other faction of Boko Haram under the control of Abubakar Shekau.
Past reports suggest that the jihadist group has apparently split with a big group moving away from Shekau over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq- and Syria-based Islamic State, which in August named Musab al-Barnawi as its new leader.
The appointment was however dismissed by Shekau himself in a 10-minute audio clip.
The Nigerian Army has limited the activities of the insurgents and reduced their area of influence. Many believe that this has led to their willingness to negotiate the release of the girls.