Tensions between Islamist group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government are mounting as the weekend brought both the death of 11 Boko Haram members and a wholesale rejection of President Goodluck Jonathan’s call for dialogue.
Violence raged in the Northeastern city of Maiduguri Saturday as the Nigerian military shot and killed 11 Boko Haram members during a shootout. Although a military spokesperson confirmed the shootout, BBC reports that Boko Haram members say they were taken from their homes by the army's joint task force and killed.
The deaths come just one week after 185 died from Boko Haram bomb attacks in the city of Kano just days after President Goodluck Jonathan extended a public invitation to open dialogue between the government and the group.
“See, as a president of a country you will not preside over dead bodies. You will be a president of people who are alive. So if they clearly identify themselves then there will be a basis for dialogue," said Jonathan Thursday.
However, the president’s calls for talks were rejected by both a statement from the group's spokesperson and renewed attacks this weekend.
"We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees," Boko Haram spokesman, Abu Qaqa, told London's Guardian newspaper. "Once we see that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released [from prison], we will only put aside our arms — but we will not lay them down. You don't put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside."
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(Photo: Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters)