US News and World Report quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on Nigeria’s ceasefire with the terrorist organization Boko Haram: 

The fighting, however, prompted each side to come to the negotiating table, analysts say. President Goodluck Jonathan has to determine this fall if he wishes to seek re-election, and so far has nothing to show for his government’s efforts to find most of the girls. Boko Haram has since September laid siege to Maiduguri, within Borno State, and likely realizes it does not have the manpower or supplies to ever overrun and control a town of more than a million people.

“They need a breather, and clearly the Nigerian military needs a breather,” says J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

Pham also believes the prospect of recovering the girls is likely, provided reports that Boko Haram is willing to cooperate are true. The girls likely are not all in the same place, but the group’s own communications networks would likely be able to find them and return them, he says.

There is also little evidence that Boko Haram has followed through on its chilling threats to execute the girls or force them into sexual enslavement. The few who have been able to escape offered no indication that such practices are actually taking place.

“That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but there isn’t any evidence,” Pham says. He adds, however, that the conflict is far from over.

“Like many ceasefires, it’s happening because both sides need a breather, but I think it’s likely only a momentary reprise,” he says. “At some point, when both sides have caught their breath and think they have the advantage, both sides will resume.” 

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