No Boko Haram cease-fire on ground: Vigilantes
The vigilantes play a major role in the government's ongoing fight against Boko Haram
Nigerian vigilantes who play a major role in the government's ongoing fight against Boko Haram in the restive northern region are casting doubt on a much-touted cease-fire deal with the militants.
"We don't know anything about the deal; we have no inkling about it," Jubrin Gunda, spokesman for the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), a vigilante group known for its counter-terrorism efforts, told Anadolu Agency.
"We just heard about it, like everyone else," he said.
Last Friday, Nigeria announced that it had reached a cease-fire with Boko Haram.
The deal reportedly stipulated the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the group over six months ago in exchange for detained militants.
"Nobody here is part of it [the cease-fire] – even at the state government level," said Gunda.
The CJTF was officially unveiled early last year as a self-motivated group of young men determined to end Boko Haram's reign of terror.
They have since been credited with chasing militants from many areas of Borno State, especially Borno's provincial capital, Maiduguri.
Adamu Buba, the man believed to have started the group, is the CJTF's supreme commander.
The task force, which often carries out house-to-house searches looking for insurgent elements, has been commended for helping to restore calm to Maiduguri after militants were flushed from the city into the bush.
Following claims of abuse, the Borno State government moved to regulate the CJTF's activities by laying down regulations for taking on members and training them.
The group currently enjoys representation in many parts of Borno State.
It is not known how many members the group has across Nigeria's troubled northeastern region, although most are believed to hail from Maiduguri.
Vigilante spokesman Gunda, meanwhile, said militants had continued to attack villages and displace residents since the government announced the ceasefire-deal.
"We have not seen anything practically on the ground to suggest any cease-fire has been reached," he told AA. "Attacks are still going on. When such is going on, how do you confirm a cease-fire?"
Since the cease-fire deal was announced one week ago, Boko Haram insurgents have attacked several communities in Borno and Adamawa states, leaving scores dead.
Up to 60 women have also been kidnapped in Adamawa, with locals pointing the finger at Boko Haram.
"The attacks you have heard of are more than real," Gunda insisted.
This week, he said, northern Borno's entire Abadam local government area was taken over by the insurgents.
The attacks are said to have resulted in dozens of civilian deaths, while troops a few days ago reportedly killed up to 28 militants who had attempted to capture Damboa, located some 85km southwest of Maiduguri.
The purported cease-fire continues to draw widespread skepticism, particularly after the recent eruption of fresh hostilities.
Government sources, however, insist the cease-fire is genuine, stressing that talks with Boko Haram were still underway in Chadian capital Ndjamena.
Nigeria has battled Boko Haram for the past five years, with thousands killed and millions displaced by the violence, which has been limited largely to the country's volatile northeastern region.
Last Modified: 2014-10-24 09:59:06
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