It appears Boko Haram will have its way this time as the group have the Yam and the Knife in its possession. The dreaded sect has finally dropped its demand for some of its top commanders to be released in exchange for some of the abducted schoolgirls seized over a month ago from Chibok in Borno State.
According to United Kingdom newspaper, Daily Telegraph, Boko Haram is not only dropping its demand in talks with the Nigerian government, they are also prepared to start releasing up to half of the girls:
“Contrary to the public rejection of any swap deal by the Nigerian government, there are some on-the-ground talks taking place. An agreement was reached about two or three days ago in principle to start releasing some prisoners.”
“Depending on how the other side responds, the girls will be released in small groups. They will be left at a certain safe location, and the authorities will then be told as to where they can pick them up from.”
The UK news medium said sources close to the Boko haram informed it that the group, which kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls a month ago, is willing to conduct a “gradual” release of its hostages in return for the release of Boko Haram prisoners in Nigerian jails.
In a significant concession, the group has abandoned demands for its top men to be released, seemingly aware that this would be politically impossible for the Nigerian government.
The Telegraph first reported details of Boko Haram’s offer of an imminent prisoner exchange last Tuesday, when sources close to some of the militants’ families said that a senior Islamic cleric from northern Nigeria would be appointed to mediate on its behalf with the government. The cleric has been joined by a former aide to one of the group’s founders.
While the Nigerian government has insisted that it is not willing to enter prisoner swap negotiations, the source said that dialogue had already been going in secret for several days.
Among those Boko Haram now want released by government are wives and families of their members, some of whom have been taken into custody by the Nigerian government in order to exert emotional pressure on the fighters themselves.
The top source said that in exchange, Boko Haram was willing to start a “gradual” release of around 100 of the girls – possibly beginning as early as the coming the week.