ABUJA, Nigeria, May 9 (UPI) -- A top Nigerian lawmaker is calling for a resumption of talks with Boko Haram aimed at ending the Islamic group's campaign of violence.
Senate President David Mark told the Daily Trust newspaper these "misguided groups are our brothers and sisters and government must therefore explore all avenues to discuss with them."
More than 200 people have died in Nigeria in the last year alone as Boko Haram -- which translates to "Western education is a sin" -- fights to broaden its efforts to implement Shariah [Islamic] law in the north.
The jihadist group originally targeted security agencies but in the past months has focused attacks on churches, primary schools, universities and newspaper offices.
A senior official of Katsina state in northern Nigeria agreed with Mark that talks with Boko Haram are necessary.
"Continued use of force may only worsen the situation leading to more losses of lives and properties," said Alhaji Sani Lugga, a traditional tribal leader known as the Wazirin Katsina.