Boko Haram
Nigeria’s peace negotiations with Boko Haram splits militant group in two factionsReuters file photo

The Nigerian army's peace deal with the militant group Boko Haram has reportedly caused a rift among the Islamists splitting the organisation into two.

The Nigerian authorities are said to have negotiated a deal with only a section of the extremists under which they would free more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted six months ago. In return, some jailed militants would be released.

Soon after the outcome of the talks was announced, a rival Islamist faction which does not agree with the deal, attacked Gwoza town in Borno State killing more than 30 civilians, according to local reports.

"The sect is only trying to buy more time to enable them to regroup and announce Mamman Nur as their new leader. Should that happen, we are far away from any peace deal, as his name rings a bell in terrorism circles from Borno to Sudan and other places across Africa," a local official in Borno told the Nigerian Tribune daily.

Nevertheless, Nigerian authorities are confident the Islamist group would free the abducted schoolgirls.

"It is true that the sect demanded the release of some of their fighters and the federal government is ready to meet some of their conditions to secure the girls' freedom. There are high hopes that the girls will be released; the military is ready to move in and bring out the girls when this is done. Already, the federal government has put machinery in motion to receive the girls once they are released," a security source told Vanguard.

It was earlier reported that many experts had raised serious doubts over the credibility of the negotiations with the group's leader Abubakar Shekau.