World Bulletin / News Desk
The Jama’atul Ahalis Sunna Lida’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram Commander declared Nigeria ceasefire.
A purported commander of Nigerian Boko Haram declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday, raising fresh questions about possible rifts within the secretive movement as it was not clear if he was speaking for the group.
Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, a man local security sources say is a sect member, twice made statements last year saying Boko Haram is ready for peace talks with the government.
The latest statement is likely to be greeted with scepticism.
In the remarks in English sent to journalists in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Boko Haram's headquarters, Abdulazeez said Boko Haram had declared "a ceasefire throughout the country with immediate effect ... following a series of meetings with government officials."
It added that he had "the consent and approval of our leader Abubakar Shekau and I call on all members to stop hostilities."
It is unclear if Abdulazeez really is speaking on behalf of Shekau - who has not come out to confirm or denounce him - or whether he represents a rival faction of the movement.
The statement came through the usual channels Boko Haram have used to deliver messages; through the Borno state journalists union. It was signed by Abdulazeez who also called to confirm it, union members said.
Shekau denied claims by the government that behind-the-scenes peace talks were being held in October last year, but he has remained silent since Abdulazeez made contact with press in November.
"We have adopted this measure as a result of the hardship women and children are subjected to, and I urge all members to abide by this directive," Abdulazeez's statement said.
"I urge law enforcement agencies to reciprocate this good gesture," it added.
There was no immediate comment from Nigerian security forces.Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2013, 11:04