Western Governments Knew Where 80 Abducted Chibok Girls Were, British Envoy says

chibok girlsA report by the U.K Sunday Times is alleging that the US and British governments knew where at least 80 of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect where but failed to launch a rescue mission.

The former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocock, told the Sunday Times that a large group of the missing girls were spotted by British and American surveillance officials shortly after their disappearance on April 14, 2014, but experts felt nothing could be done.

‘Too High Risk’

Dr Pocock was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying that Western governments felt ‘powerless’ to help, as any rescue attempt would have been too high risk – with the Boko Haram terrorists using the girls as human shield.

He said: “A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American eye in the sky spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa forest, around a very large tree, called locally the Tree of Life, along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment”.

He told Sunday Times that the girls were there for at least four weeks but authorities were ‘powerless’ to intervene – and the Nigerian government did not ask for help anyway.

“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed, an air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so to the girls.’

“You might have rescued a few but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment – 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” he added.

He further told the Sunday Times Magazine that the information was passed to the Nigerian government but it made no request for help.

Terrorists stormed a secondary boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state, northern Nigeria in April 14, 2014, and seized over 200 girls who were preparing for their final-year exams.

Although 57 of the girls managed to escape the rest have remained missing and have not been heard from or seen since.

The abduction triggered solidarity protests in different countries with protesters carrying placards mostly written, “Bring Back Our Girls”.

In different intervals, top military officials said they were aware of the girls’ location, but could not launch an attack on the terrorists, fearing it could lead to civilian casualties.

Group Dedicates Women’s Day To Chibok Girls

Chibok-girlsThe Bring Back Our Girls campaigners have dedicated the 2015 International Women’s Day to the 219 schoolgirls abducted from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, by members of a terrorist group, the Boko Haram.

The girls were abducted on April 14, 2014 and have not been rescued.

At its meeting in Abuja on Sunday, the group members expressed concerns that two weeks into the six weeks heightened counter-terrorism operation to tackle insurgency in the north-east, the government had not offered any status update on efforts specific to the rescue of the 219 Chibok girls.

A member of the group, Aisha Yesufu said news reports that the abducted girls were being used as human shields by the terrorists were causing anxiety for the parents of the girls.

“The news is causing feelings of hurt and anxiety in the parents of the girls, when they imagine the anguish the girls have been subjected to in the last 328 days,” Yesufu said.

Globally, March 8 has been set aside to celebrate women who have contributed to the development of the world as well as serve as a reminder to government to canvass for policies that would advance the course of women.

The Chibok girls may not have contributed to the development of the world, but their abduction triggered widespread protest, with a “Bring Back Our Girls” demand. Several world leaders also condemned the act by the terrorist group at that time.

This year’s theme, “Women Empowerment, Service to Humanity” has drawn so many reactions from people as governments across the globe try to bridge the gap that exists in making the women folk bring their expertise to the fore.

Abuja Bomb:  Bring Back Our Girls Campaigners Insist On Street Advocacy

Chibok-girls-BringBackOurGirlsMembers of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group in Abuja have rejected a suggestion that the group should carry out their advocacy from their homes as a result of the security situation in Abuja after a bomb explosion.

The group is advocating the release of the over 200 girls abducted by members of a terrorist group, Boko Haram.

They are calling on the government to take more drastic action to ensure that the girls are rescued.

No retreat no surrender, has become their slogan since they started the campaign few weeks after the girls were abducted from their dormitory in the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State on April 14.

After the bombing of the Emab Plaza on Wednesday in the nation’s capital, some members of the group suggested that they carry out their advocacy from their homes until the security situation in Abuja improves.

The suggestion was, however, rejected by most members of the group, who say the campaign will continue until the girls are rescued.

The Nigerian government had pledged its commitment to rescuing the girls but asked the campaign group to direct their protests to the terrorist group.

A military head told reporters few weeks ago that the location of the girls had been identified and that the armed forces on a counter-terrorism campaign were working on a rescue strategy that would ensure a minimal casualty.

Nigeria Receives Britain’s Assurance Of Support In Rescue Of Girls

Cameron-JonathanThe Nigerian government on Wednesday received a commitment from the British government to deploy its intelligence gathering resources in support of Nigeria’s security agencies currently engaged in the search and rescue of the over 200 girls abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State.

A statement by the spokesman for President Jonathan, Reuben Abati, said that President Goodluck Jonathan, in a telephone conversation with the British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, asked and received a promise of the deployment of British satellite imaging capabilities and other advanced tracking technologies in support of the ongoing effort.

President Jonathan thanked Mr Cameron, the British government and people for their concern over the fate of the abducted girls and their willingness to provide concrete assistance to save the girls from the terrorists who seized them from their school on April 14.

“Pure Evil”

He told the Prime Minister that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would liaise with the British government through its high commission in Nigeria to work out practical details of the promised support and collaboration against terrorism.

Mr Cameron had earlier told the British parliament that he would speak with the Nigerian president to discuss how Britain can assist Nigeria in rescuing the girls abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok.

He had described the abduction of girls as spoils of terrorism as “pure evil” and stressed the need for world nations to come together in the fight against terrorism.

The peoples’ republic of china has also offered to assist in the effort to rescue the abducted girls.

In talks with President Jonathan earlier on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Premier Li Keqiang promised that his country would make any useful information acquired by its satellites and intelligence services available to Nigeria’s security agencies.

Mr Keqiang assured the President that china would support Nigeria’s fight against terrorism in every possible way, including the training of military personnel for anti-insurgency operations.

The abduction of the girl had triggered protests and drew condemnation from celebrities, groups and governments around the world, with a “Bring Back Our Girl” demand from the Nigerian government and other world leaders.

President Barack Obama had also condemned the abduction,describing it as a terrible and heart breaking situation and sought global action against the Boko Haram sect.

The US government had also sent in Military experts to help rescue the girls abducted by members of the sect.

“Boko Haram, the terrorist organisation, has been operating in Nigeria, killing people and innocent civilians for a very long time,” Obama said.

The group had been terrorising villages in the north east and had of recent carried out two bomb attacks in Nyanya area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, raising security concerns ahead of the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Abuja.

Participants from over 80 countries are attending the event that is offering Nigeria an opportunity to woo more investors into Africa’s largest economy.