by UBONG UKPONG

The Nigerian military is said to be at crossroads over the whereabouts of the over 200 girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who have been in the captivity of Boko Haram insurgents since April 14, 2014. Saturday Mirror’s investigation shows clearly that the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, does not know the whereabouts of the girls. The military is, according to a source, is however not ready to own up.army

A top military source at the DHQ confided in our correspondent in Abuja that the planned military offensive to Sambisa forest, Borno State, was basically to ensure that all Nigerian territories taken by Boko Haram are recovered and handed over by President Goodluck Jonathan on May 29, to the in-coming administration of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, under General Muhammadu Buhari as President.

The source said that the military was not interested in talking about the Chibok girls in their operations, which would ensure that all citizens found captive in the course of the operations shall be rescued and reunited with their families. It said upon such rescue, the government might go ahead to determine which of them were part of the Chibok girls or not, as this would not be the military’s business.

The top military officer, who expressed disappointment over the way the issue of Chibok girls was politicised, said that after the recovery and handover of all territories on May 29, the military would not relent in supporting the new administration to find and rescue the Chibok girls.

Although it attempted blaming the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh for announcing that the military knew where the girls were, it however said that it was not untrue as troops had rescued so many people including women and girls since the operation in the North East, but could not determine which among them were part of the Chibok girls.

The source said as it stood, it was very unthinkable that the military would come up to say otherwise, rather, it would continue in keeping high the hope of those agitating for the release of Chibok girls and ignoring several other innocent Nigerians that are being rescued on a continuous basis.

Stressing that a lot of water has passed under the bridge in the course of the girls’ abduction, the source said Nigerians would soon come to know the truth and realities about the Chibok girls after May 29. “Are the terrorists stupid to have kept that number of girls in that forest at one place for over this one year? How are they being fed, clothed and taken care of ?

In fact the CDS shouldn’t have made that comment that we know where they are. Now we are at crossroads, we cannot take back our words, rather, we have to continue to raise the hope of the people that we are monitoring their movements.

“We have carried out serious and sufficient operations that should have by now ensured the return of the girls. Now our last effort is the Sambisa forest operation. We hope that some of them are there and we will rescue them, because as it stands now, it is unthinkable that they are there in that forest”, the source said. Saturday Mirror’s earlier investigations had shown that the girls were not even in the country.

However, the DHQ has continued to insist that they knew where the girls were and closely keeping tab with their movernment on 24 hours basis.

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