Nigerian Militants Set Strict Terms for Talks

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 11:55 am (UTC-5)
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A radical Islamic sect in northern Nigeria says it will continue deadly attacks in the region unless the government meets strict terms for talks.

In a statement, Boko Haram insists that strict Islamic law be imposed across northern Nigeria and that the government of northeastern Borno state resign.

The group is also demanding that all of its jailed members be released and that Borno's former governor and senior security officials be prosecuted for the death of a sect leader.

Boko Haram released the statement in Borno state's capital Maiduguri Monday. The letter is entitled, “Conditions for dialogue with President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Kashim Shettima.”

Shettima, who is the new governor of Borno state, has said he is willing to negotiate with Boko Haram.

Last week, President Jonathan expressed support for dialogue with the militant group.

The radical sect is believed to be responsible for a series of attacks that have killed police officers, soldiers, political figures and clerics over the past year, mostly in Borno state.

The group is fighting to establish strict Islamic law across Nigeria. Its name in the local Hausa language means “Western education is a sin.”

Boko Haram launched an uprising in July 2009 that sparked a violent crackdown by government forces. More than 700 people were killed in a week of fighting.