Nigerian Military: We Were Not Warned Of The Abduction In Chibok
The Nigerian military on Friday said a report by Amnesty International, AI, on the abducted Chibok schoolgirls was false.
The global human rights organisation had released a report on Friday indicting the Nigerian military for the kidnap of over 250 girls from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, on April 14.
AI said the military had at least 4-hour prior warning of the Chibok attack, but did not do enough to stop it.
According to AI’s report, sources said that local patrols (known as “vigilantes”, set up by the military and local authorities) in Gagilam, a neighbouring village, were among the first to raise the alarm on the evening of 14 April.
The locals, the report said, raised the alarm after a large group of unidentified armed men entered their village on motorbikes and said they were headed to Chibok.
This set off a rapid chain of phone calls to alert officials, including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in Maiduguri., AI said. The global body said Nigerian military sources confirmed being warned of the attack.
But the Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, in a statement said AI’s allegation is very “unfortunate and untrue”.
Mr. Olukolade noted that while the Nigerian military appreciates global concern with Nigeria, falsehood must be avoided.
Stating that AI’s report was unfounded, Mr. Olukolade said that troops in Maiduguri did not receive four hours warning before the attack.
He said that the Nigerian military had rather received information of an ongoing attack on Chibok community from troops on patrol.
He said the troops on noting the attack engaged the terrorists and called for more reinforcement to contain them.
He said that as the troops on reinforcement traversed over 120km rugged and tortuous road from Maiduguri to Chibok, they ran into an ambush by terrorists who engaged them in fierce firefight and a number of soldiers lost their lives.
He said another set of soldiers mobilized for the mission arrived after the terrorists had escaped due to a series of misleading information that slowed down the pursuit.
Mr. Olukolade said troops at the Division Headquarters in Maiduguri received a reinforcement call and not a forewarning.
He also said that considering the vastness of the mission area, deployment has been more of patrols than static.
Mr. Olukolade said the allegations are a continuation of the campaign intended to cause disaffection, portray the military in bad light and undermine the counter-terrorism efforts.
He said the Defence Headquarters is appealing to individuals and organisations to refrain from circulating allegations that could undermine both the operation and investigation of missions to rescue the girls.