Time to Consider Talks With Boko Haram?

Military interventions have failed to end a violent insurgency and humanitarian crisis. The crisis has grown from armed conflict in north-east Nigeria and expanded into neighbouring states. Boko Haram, one of the world's deadliest terror groups, has killed more than 30 000 people since 2009 and continues to stage regular attacks across Borno. Millions have been forced from their homes and the option for dialogue may now be required. For dialogue to succeed, governments need to work with civil society to create awareness campaigns that build community support for non-violent approaches to preventing extremism. They need to see communities not as victims but as mediators who understand what gave rise to the insurgency and what might prompt militants to lay down their arms. Communities and local leaders should take the lead, using communication strategies that create the conditions for listening, understanding, and compromise writes Maram Mahdi for the Institute for Security Studies. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abductions of more than 300 children from an all-boys secondary school in Kankara in Katsina State.

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