Islamic extremist militants Boko Haram, who have killed at least 2,600 people in Nigeria, reportedly want to broker a deal with the government to release the remaining kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls in return for escaping execution.
Two hundred schoolgirls were seized from a school in Chibok two years ago and have never been traced or found. It is believed only a third of them remain alive.
According to a report in The Times, senior members of the terrorist group told Nigerian newspaper Leadership Friday that it was prepared to negotiate a surrender and release the hostages on the condition they would not be not betrayed by the government or killed for giving up arms.
“We want to surrender because things are getting worse,” said Amir Muhammad Abdullahi, who is reportedly Boko Haram’s second in command. He said no side was winning the battle and that only a third of the girls remained as “the rest have been martyred”.
It comes as two Chibok girls have reportedly been released – one of whom called Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki who was found near Sambisa forest and believed to have been freed as a ‘gesture of good faith’ by the militants.
However, there was confusion mounting over whether the second girl, (who has not been named), was freed in a raid on a Boko Haram camp on 19 May, was from Chibok.
Yakubu Nkeke told The Times: “I can say in my capacity as the head of the Chibok Abducted Girls Parents group that this girl is not among the abducted girls.”
Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorists?
Boko Haram (recently renamed Iswap) fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law on the country.
The group declared an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, along the Cameroon border, in August 2014.
Boko Haram has raided several cities in the north of the country in a bid to take control of more land.
Three states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013, due to Boko Haram’s attacks.
The group has killed at least 2,600 people since the beginning of 2015. More than 180 have been killed since the beginning of June.