Jonathan: Boko Haram leaders must come out

June 25, 2012 at 5:51 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 25 (UPI) -- The Nigerian government cannot hold discussions with the Islamist Boko Haram group because it is "faceless," President Goodluck Jonathan says.

Sambo Dasuki, Jonathan's new security adviser, is an advocate of dialogue with Boko Haram, Voice of America reported. Jonathan, appearing on a television show Sunday, said that is what he wants as well.

"But presently, Boko Haram has no face," he said. "Nobody will come and tell you that I am a leader of Boko Haram and government will not dialogue with a faceless group. You must have a face. You must tell us the reason why you are doing what you are doing. Then, of course, we'll dialogue."

Boko Haram, the Hausa name for People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad, was founded in 2002. The group, which wants to establish Shariah law in Muslim-majority areas in Nigeria, has been blamed for killing hundreds of Christians this year and burning churches.

Jonathan described the group as ruthless. He said if security forces make burning churches impossible, Boko Haram is likely to burn mosques to incite Muslims against Christians.

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