A former military officer, Sunday Adoba, on Monday admitted that the military was aware of the location of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists two years ago.
“They are within the Gambalu Dam axis.
“In about late June or early July, we knew some of them were handed over to one Mala Yamari who is an Amir of the sect,” he told Channels Television while answering questions focused on military efforts to rescue the girls.
The Boko Haram group, who were formerly said to be residing within a location called “Camp Zero” of the Sambisa forest, have now purportedly relocated.
Mr Adoba said that the ‘Camp Zero’ had not been attacked and was not an issue presently, as the entire Boko Haram group had moved out of the main Sambisa to somewhere close to the Gambalu Dam.
Gates Of The Sambisa
Mr Adoba confirmed that the important areas for now were the Bama, Conduga axis in terms of military significance.
In his words: “They are the areas that you can now get what you want from. They are just within the gates of the Sambisa.
Ever since the girls were handed over, his team has been monitoring the activities around the current location of the insurgents.
“Their strength has improved and they have increased in number within this same area where these video clips were taken.
“So to me, I don’t think it is possible for us to say we do not know where they are. I think we do.
“I don’t have personal contact with the Chibok girls or the families, but the fact remains that consistently ever since their abduction, we have tried to link up both with the Military, the Borno State Government and other interested parties excluding the BBOG [Bring Back Our Girls] group”.
The former Army Officer, who believes that the girls are being used for a purpose, opined that “the world has come to accept the fact that these girls are important and the Boko Haram know that the importance of their campaign, for now, depends entirely on these girls.
“So they won’t just let go, we would have to fight to pick these girls out of their domain”.
He also revealed that in May, four girls were said to be married off to some Boko Haram leaders around the Goza hills.
Air Force Bombardment
The retired military officer said that his team told the Air Force not to drop bombs around certain areas, as most of the girls had been moved out of the bunkers and were staying under trees.
However, regarding the truth about the reports that some of the girls had been killed by Air Force bombardment, he said it was a 50-50 issue.
He further explained that “one cannot tell the radius to which a bomb explodes, as it depends on the surface where it lands”.
Mr Adoba assured Nigerians that the girls were well protected by the Boko Haram who also give them preferential treatment compared to other hostages, apart from those that have been married out.
On how the girls could be identified, he said they could easily be known in terms of language and level of protection, as they are not allowed to move around the way other hostages move.
He also mentioned that despite the Boko Haram movement around Sambisa, a lot of communities still existed there, from which they receive some inside information.
Military Should Be Properly Equipped
The retired military officer, however, expressed hopes about the possibility of rescuing the girls.
“It is possible for these girls to be located and rescued but it requires equipping the military with the right equipment and the right motivation to get this thing done”.
“I sincerely believe the military is doing a lot. At least presently over 75% of the remaining Boko Haram Camps have been cleared, So I expect that with less than 25% camps left, the military should be able to get these girls.”
He explained that one of the reasons the military had not been successful was because they launched out at an inappropriate time.
“The military went into the Sambisa forest and I have said it repeatedly, not once nor twice, that Sambisa is an area that you can only operate within the dry season, it shouldn’t be the rainy season.
“They went in in May, and they had to get stuck because the terrain wasn’t very conducive and they were very close to their objective, yet they could not achieve that immediate aim which to the very best of my knowledge was going to the camp, popularly known as the ‘Camp Zero’, where the Boko Haram had their headquarters, where we believe they had the girls in the bunkers,” he said.
The former army officer opined that when vital leads are provided by the intelligence officers, there should always be proper interaction between all parties involved in order to trace the locations that are being mentioned.
He pointed out that some of the other problems that had contributed to the issue were equipment, communication, and the efficiency of the air-force.
“If the air force has enough helicopter gunship, transport, I don’t see why our paratroopers or the airborne group cannot do this job and we need a lot of light, fast moving vehicles,” he added.