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Peace offer from a supposed sect leader in northeast Nigeria comes amid unending bloodshed

A self-proclaimed commander of a radical Islamist sect in northeast Nigeria has come forward with a peace offer as violence in the region continues.

A man who identified himself as Sheikh Muhammed Abdulazeez spoke to journalists Monday in Maiduguri, where the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram got its start. Abdulazeez described himself as a second-in-command to sect leader Abubakar Shekau and said there would be a ceasefire as the local government had promised to release some sect members.

While a government official later welcomed the announcement, it came as soldiers and police still hold Boko Haram members and violence continued unabated in the region. A local resident of Gajiganna, a nearby village, said he saw eight dead bodies — some decapitated — after an attack, likely by Boko Haram.