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.

British High Commissioner Highlights Strategies To Tackle Boko Haram

pocockThe British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocock, has said for the country to overcome the security challenges facing it, the government must properly equip its military, against the backdrop of increasing serial attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of the Northeast.

He also said that the Nigerian government can come up with a well-articulated security network,  as well as developing a sound economic agenda for the people of the Northeast and other affected areas.

Dr Pocock made this remarks at an interaction with some journalists in Kaduna, North West Nigeria.

The High Commissioner, who attributed the increasing bombings in the Northeast to lack of cohesion among security agencies and other stakeholders, said that the only way to defeat the insurgents is to make Nigeria’s security forces more resilient.

According to him, with the huge amount earmarked for the Defence Sector in its annual budget, Nigeria should be capable of providing adequate weapons for its military, rather than waiting for help from outside countries.

He explained that, rather than assisting Nigeria with weapons or troops in the ongoing war against terror, Britain can only support Nigeria by way of training and retraining of its military personnel in order to enable them be effective on the field.

He also said, the only way the abducted Secondary School girls in Chibok, Borno State can be rescued from their abductors is for the military to defeat the insurgents.

In recent times, several attacks have been recorded in the Northern part of the country which has left hundreds of people dead and thousands injured.

Britain Partners With Nigeria Police In Tackling Crime

Police IG 2The British government has pledged its full assistance and mutual collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force in tackling the crimes of terrorism, kidnapping, piracy and other related crimes

The partnership is the contribution of the British government in ongoing efforts at addressing the current security challenges in Nigeria.

The pledge was made on Wednesday at the Force Headquarters in Abuja during a meeting between the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Abubakar and the British High Commissioner, Dr Andrew Pocock.

At the end of the meeting, the High Commissioner said the British Government would assist the Nigeria Police in the areas of capacity building especially as it relates to acquiring requisite skills in general investigation, scene of crime management, counter-terrorism, bomb diffusion/disposal and tracking of kidnappers.

The IGP thanked the British government for its age-long support for the Nigeria Police and pledged the commitment of the Force to mutual sharing of intelligence that would be of benefit to both countries in areas of security and law enforcement.

He further promised that the Nigeria Police would continue to provide necessary support and relevant background information that would help in tackling the challenges of identity theft, visa fraud and other forms of criminalities in both countries.

The IGP, who described the relationship between the Nigeria Police and its British counterparts as a “mutually rewarding one”, promised that both countries would work hard to preserve and promote the long-standing partnership.