Originally published in The Times
‘[Mr. Davis, unofficial mediator between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government] said that the only way to resolve the hostage crisis would be for a peace deal to be reached with members of the Boko Haram leadership, who appeared to be open to talks.
The comments, from a man the Nigerian government has denied is acting as an envoy for President Jonathan, came as a think-tank in London warned that Boko Haram could join forces with Islamist fighters in Mali to create the largest al-Qaeda franchise in the world.
A report by the Henry Jackson Society, released today, said that such a merger would “pose a very acute threat to the West”.
“Boko Haram’s close historic connections to AQIM [al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb] means a merger of the two groups cannot be dismissed, leading to one terrorist group covering a territory stretching from Morocco to Nigeria with formidable financial resources and manpower,” it said, according to an advanced copy seen by The Times.
The analysis, entitled Terrorism in Nigeria: The Threat From Boko Haram and Ansaru, explores the links between al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Ansaru, a Nigerian splinter group formed three years ago.
Read the full article here.