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Nigeria in talks with Islamic militants to end violence

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 Nigeria’s government has reached out to members of Islamist militant group Boko Haram through back-channel talks in a bid to end an insurgency that has killed hundreds, the president’s spokesman said Sunday.

“The form of the dialogue is that backroom channels are being used to reach across with the sole objective of understanding what exactly the grievances of these persons are, what exactly can be done to resolve the crises,” Reuben Abati told journalists.

He said the effort was being made “in the overall best interest of ensuring peace and stability in Nigeria and the security of life and property.”

Abati’s comments were the first official government confirmation of back-channel talks with the Islamists, though the information minister has previously signaled some form of dialogue was underway.

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