ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan challenged violent Islamist sect Boko Haram on Thursday to identify themselves and state clearly their demands as a basis for talks, while acknowledging that military confrontation alone will not end their insurgency.
In an interview with Reuters at the presidential villa in the capital Abuja, Jonathan also said there was no doubt that Boko Haram had links with other jihadist groups outside Nigeria.
"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.
"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?"
But he cautioned that the crisis would be much harder to resolve than the one in the oil rich southeastern Niger Delta, which was largely defused in 2009 under an amnesty he helped broker.
(Reporting by Tim Cocks, Joe Brock and Felix Onuah; Writing by Tim Cocks)