Boko Haram Suspected of Saturday's Deadly Attacks

Immediately following reports of ceasefire and prisoner release, Boko Haram is believed to have struck again in 5 new attacks on villages.

Cynthia Blank ,

Aftermath of Boko Haram attack (illustration)
Aftermath of Boko Haram attack (illustration)

Despite government claims of a ceasefire paving the way to free 200 abducted girls, Boko Haram terrorists are suspected of launching five new attacks on Nigerian villages, killing dozens, security sources and witnesses said Saturday.

The Nigerian government, however, expressed doubt that the attacks were really carried out by Boko Haram, considering the fact that there are several other criminal groups exploiting the chaotic situation in the country. 

A spokesman said talks to free the girls, who were kidnapped from the remote town of Chibok, would continue in Chad on Monday.

The kidnappings, which occurred in April, sparked worldwide shock and outrage at the time, and inspired several governments to send experts to Nigeria to track the location of the girls. 

The fresh wave of attacks has crushed hopes for an easing of the violence - a result of Boko Haram's insurgency in the country's northeast since 2009. 

Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to “Western education is sinful,” has massacred thousands in a struggle to impose strict Muslim Sharia law across religiously diverse Nigeria. 

Officials remain confident that they will be able to negotiate the release of girls. Government sources say they are aiming to do so by Tuesday, but declined to give further details.

When asked about the Saturday attacks, government spokesman Mike Omeri told Associated Press by telephone that “the Boko Haram people have also said that some attacks are not undertaken by them.”

“Discussions will continue in Chad next week, and on the basis of those discussions we’ll have more details” on how the girls will be released, Omeri said.

Boko Haram has not commented on the supposed truce. 

A history of botched government attempts at truce agreements with Boko Haram, along with false military claims that some girls were rescued, suggests that Nigerians are likely to treat news of the ceasefire and hostage release with skepticism.