Navigating the Enigma of Negotiating with a Jihadist Terrorist Group

African Security

Author/s (editor/s):

Babatunde Obamamoye

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:
Taylor & Francis

Babatunde Obamamoye, ‘Navigating the Enigma of Negotiating with a Jihadist Terrorist Group’, African Security, 11(4) 2018: 397-414.

A notable shocking development in the advancement of the Boko Haram terrorist revolt was the abduction of about 276 Chibok girls in April 2014. Shortly afterward, while the terrorists made known their extremist determination to offer the girls for sale, the Nigerian government vowed unconditional rescue of the girls. Notwithstanding the evident opposition of both adversaries to nonviolent engagement, some of the victims were eventually released through negotiations. What then were the rationales that paved the way for negotiations? What are the implications of this approach? This article demystifies the rationales for negotiation between the Nigerian government and the Boko Haram terrorist group over the abducted girls. It argues that nonviolent engagement in this context arose out of intersecting interests but, more important, reinforced the “vulnerability” of the “new” religious terrorists to negotiation when violence proved futile in accomplishing some of their vital objectives.

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