A former United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington, has said that the US will not oppose President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to negotiate with Boko Haram.
The former diplomat, however, noted that Washington would not support any attempt by the Federal 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 told our correspondent in an interview.
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.
Meanwhile, the US has condemned the recent “horrific and indiscriminate” attacks at the Jambutu Mosque in Yola, Adamawa State, the Central Mosque of Polo Ward in Maiduguri, Borno State, and other locations in Maiduguri.
“We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and loved ones of the many innocent civilians who were killed and injured. The apparent use of children, particularly young girls, to commit these attacks is especially heinous, and it provides yet more examples of the horrific measures Boko Haram is willing to take to terrorise civilians in north-eastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region,” the US Department of State said.
The American government promised that it would continue to support the governments and people of the Lake Chad Basin region in their ongoing struggle to defeat Boko Haram.