A London-based newspaper has reported that Boko Haram is to authorise an Islamic cleric to negotiate on its behalf with the Federal Government on its offer.
The sect is also to announce a list of key militants that it wants released in exchange for the girls, The Telegraph, quoted unnamed sources as saying late on Tuesday night.
The newspaper however said the Islamic cleric would be named on Wednesday (yesterday). It quoted the sources as saying that the sect would seek a freed prisoner for every one of the kidnapped girls.
As of 9pm on Wednesday, the cleric’s name had not been made public.
The group, according to The Telegraph, will give the cleric “clear terms of reference” for how it wants the negotiations to be conducted. It will also spell out the practical details of how it would set the girls free.
Apart from senior commanders, the list of prisoners the group wants freed is expected to include a number of militants’ relatives.
One of the sources told The Telegraph that, “The group is about to name a cleric who they will mandate to talk to the government.
“They will give him clear terms of reference, including a list of the members they want released, and details of how they will free the girls.
“The list will include personal relations who have been detained, but also top members of the group. In total, the numbers to be released will probably be equal to the number of the girls currently held.”
One senior militant currently in jail is Kabiru Sokoto, who was sentenced to life with hard labour last year for masterminding the bombing of a church outside Abuja that killed 44 people on Christmas Day in 2011.
Another group of detained Boko Haram suspects is a gang accused of the kidnapping and killing of Chris McManus, a British engineer, who was abducted along with an Italian, Franco Lamolinara, in May 2011.
In the past, a dialogue and amnesty committee set up by the Federal Government has brokered the release of a number of Boko Haram detainees, mostly relatives of fighters still at large.
Among those released last year were Abubakar Shekau’s wife and children, who were detained during a raid in December 2012.
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