The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has challenged Boko Haram to identify itself and state clearly its demands as a basis for talks.
The radical Islamist group killed more than 500 people last year and another 250 in the first weeks of 2012 in gun and bomb attacks in the West African country, according to Human Rights Watch.
"If they clearly identify themselves now and say this is the reason why we are resisting, this is the reason why we are confronting government or this is the reason why we destroy some innocent people and their properties … then there will be a basis for dialogue," Jonathan said in an interview to Reuters at the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja,on Thursday.
"We will dialogue, let us know your problems and we will solve your problem, but if they don’t identify themselves, who will you dialogue with?"
Jonathan said there was no doubt that Boko Haram had links with jihadi groups outside Nigeria.
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