Boko Haram leader denies talks with Nigerian govt
Abuja: Nigeria's radical Islamist group Boko Haram on Sunday denied that it is taking part in any peace talks with the government.
"We are not in dialogue with government, neither are we prepared for it until the conditions we laid down have been met," Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video sent to local journalists in northeast Nigeria.
He was reacting to a statement made by a purported commander of the group, Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, who claimed in January that he declared a ceasefire on behalf of the outfit.
"I disassociate myself from him completely," Shekau said, adding that his group has at no time offered a ceasefire.
A splinter group Ansaru has broken away from Boko Haram and has kidnapped foreigners in recent times.
Observers say the appearance of Abdulazeez and the denial by Shekau could be a sign of further rift within the group.
Boko Harams says it is fighting to install Islamic sharia rule in Africa's top oil producing country. It has killed thousands through suicide attacks, bombings and shootings.
The country, though a secular state, has two major religions -- Islam and Christianity.
Christians are found mainly in the south while Muslims are predominant in the north but they share the 150 million population of the country in roughly equal proportion.