Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has reiterated the resolve of the military to rescue the abducted Chibok girls whiles decrying the politicized nature of their abduction since two years ago.
According to the Army Chief, the whereabouts of the over 200 girls remained unknown. He made the comments whiles responding to a wide range of questions at a press briefing as part of ‘Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2016.’
“The issue of the Chibok schoolgirls has been politicised. Ours is professional duty. We will keep looking out to rescue more. We’re still searching for them and by the grace of God, if they are still alive, we will rescue them. Today, nobody knows their whereabouts”, Buratai said.
We will keep looking out to rescue more. We’re still searching for them and by the grace of God, if they are still alive, we will rescue them. Today, nobody knows their whereabouts.
“The military is very much interested in information that would enable us to rescue the girls”, he added.
He expressed the doubt against the facts that several hundreds and thousands of captives have been freed by the army since launching an onslaught on the terrorists since Buhari ascended to the presidency in 2015.
In the most recent case, the army reported the rescue and freeing of 5000, the army chief reiterated that all territories hitherto held by the insurgents had been recovered and under the control of the army, yet, the girls were nowhere to be found.
Since the girls were abducted over 24 months ago, only two girl have been successfully rescued about a month back. Amina Ali Nkeki and Sarah Luka (even though activists have disputed that Luka is a part of the Chibok school girls, clarifying that she was abducted in the Chibok community but not among the school girls.)
Military onslaught on Boko Haram since Buhari became President
The Nigerian Army has intensified combat with Boko Haram since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power.
The army and government insist that a ‘technical victory’ had been won against the terrorists as at December 31, 2015, given that all Local Government Areas held by the insurgents in the three worst hit states, (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa) had been recovered.
An operation code named ‘Lafiya Doole’ – Peace is a necessity – has seen the Army take the fight to Boko Haram on land and partly through the Air Force. The Army claims the terrorists are now restricted to the Sambisa forest which the army is clearing gradually.
Boko Haram is fighting for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the country’s north. The group has also allied itself with the Islamic State group which is based in Iraq and Syria but with growing presence in Africa especially in Libya.
The Boko Haram conflict which started in Nigeria’s northeast, has extended to other parts of Africa’s most populous country, further extension of the insurgency has spread across the Lake Chad region affecting Niger, Cameroon’s far north region and Chad.
The situation in the Lake Chad region has led to the establishment of a Joint Multinational Task force (JMTF) which pools forces from the affected countries and other neighbouring states to complement the fight against the insurgents.
Meanwhile, the Bring Back Our Girls group which continues to ceaselessly demand the rescue of the girls alive have stated that they would officially respond to the comments of the Army Chief relative to the Army’s ability to rescue the girls.