We Don’t Engage with Terrorist Groups – UN Tells Buhari 1

We Don’t Engage with Terrorist Groups – UN Tells Buhari

The United Nations has said that it could support the political resolution of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.

The global body said though it did not engage with terrorist groups, it could support a resolution of the crisis, insisting that there was a need to seek a political solution to the conflict.

This is as the European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management, Mr Janez Lenarcic announced a €26.5 million first emergency aid package for 2020.

Speaking at a press conference concluding Lenarcic’s official visit to the North-East in Abuja on Friday, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon stated that he had no capacity or authority to initiate a political solution to the insurgency.

He stated, “Let me make it emphatic that the UN doesn’t engage with terrorists or organisations designated as a terrorist. But the UN will support efforts by the government to try to find a solution to the crisis in North-East Nigeria.”

Kallon accused Boko Haram of blocking access to the people, describing it as a gross violation of the international humanitarian law.

When asked if there were ongoing moves to engage with the insurgents, the UN official said, “Not at this point in time; I don’t even have the capacity and the systems to do this. We can support any effort by the government but in doing so to find a solution to this problem.

“When we talk about political solutions, we are looking at various elements that are so critical to restore hope, build trust and also get people to start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods.”

The UN Resident Coordinator further said that a political resolution would involve community leaders and influential people with outreach capacity to build confidence among the various actors.

Kallon noted that critical policies at the federal level were also important in the process, adding that he had been involved in a similar process for the past 30 years in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and other countries.

He added, “I strongly believe that where there is a political justification for conflict, there is a solution. You cannot harass the people you want to rule. It is not one of the easiest theories we addressed so far. You can gain power, but you cannot sustain power. So, there is a need to come to the table and try to find a political solution to the problem.”

Kallon, a Sierra Leonian, said the countries in the region must be involved in the suggested dialogue with the insurgents, noting that the Federal Government must continue engaging with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

He said, “Reconciliation is an area we can engage and support and who are we going to talk to? The crisis in the North East is a regional crisis and it has a regional implication.

“So, the regional actors that are being affected by this crisis are also equally very important. So talking to Niger, Chad, and Cameroon which President Buhari has been doing and continue to do remains extremely critical in finding a solution to this crisis.”

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouk said the FG has been doing its best to contain the insurgency, noting that the government was working to rehabilitate and ensure that the displaced persons returned to their communities.

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