Jan. 26 - Nigerian President Jonathan is challenging the violent Islamist sect Boko Haram to come out in the open as a basis for talks. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Nigeria's Jonathan calls on Boko Haram to come out from hiding Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is challenging the violent Islamist sect Boko Haram to come out in the open to clearly state their demands as a basis for talks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIGERIA PRESIDENT, GOODLUCK JONATHAN, SAYING: "If they clearly identify themselves now and say this is why we are resisting, this is the reason why we are confronting government or this is the reason why we destroyed some innocent people and their properties, why not. See, as a president of a country you will not preside over dead bodies. You will be a president of people who are alive. So if they clearly identify themselves then their will be a basis for dialogue." The sect killed more than 500 people last year and more than 250 in the first weeks of 2012, according to Human Rights Watch. In an interview with Reuters he said it will take more than arms to end their insurgency. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIGERIA PRESIDENT, GOODLUCK JONATHAN, SAYING: "The military confrontation is required now because you must reduce it by all means but military confrontation alone will not eliminate terror attack. Your superior intelligence and providing enabling environment for young people to have jobs and that is the area we are committed. In the northern part of this country we are lucky that we have very vast land but the limitation is that the rainfall, it is a very short period that you have rain." He also told Reuters making peace with insurgents presents its own set of challenges. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIGERIA PRESIDENT, GOODLUCK JONATHAN, SAYING: "The Boko Haram operates as a terrorist organization. Yes security services know the names of some just as Osama Bin Laden was known but if anybody, if any president has invited Osama Bin Laden he wouldn't have appeared even though we know that there is somebody called Osama Bin Laden and that he was involved in terrorist activities all over the world. So the Boko Haram, yes some of their leaders are known, it is not as if they don't know some of the leaders, they know that's why some of them are being arrested. But if you invite them they will not come. So they operate without a face, they operate without a clear identity so its difficult to interface with such a group." Boko Haram was formed in 2003 in north-eastern Nigeria. It launched an uprising against the government in 2009 that security forces put down after days of fighting that killed about 800 people. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.