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Boko Haram offered amnesty by Nigeria

Feb. 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM

ABUJA, Nigeria, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The leader of the Islamic group Boko Haram must renounce violence on YouTube before the group's cease-fire offer can be accepted, a Nigerian official said.

The national coordinator of Nigeria's counter-terrorism center said the government is willing to embrace members of the militant group who renounce terrorism, Nigeria's Daily Trust reported Tuesday.

Boko Haram leader Sheikh Abubaktar Shekau is currently on the U.S. terrorist list.

Nigerian counter-terrorism chief Major Gen. Sarkin-Yaki Bello said the government would adopt some socio-economic measure to address extremism in the north and grant amnesty to members of Boko Haram.

But first the group's leader must publicly renounce violence on YouTube, the medium he has been using, Bello said.

"The sect has grown in sophistication from when it emerged in 2009 and is now capable of carrying out coordinated attacks in many cities in northern Nigeria," Bello said.

However, Bello said its capacity has been weakened substantially in the last few months.

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