The Nigerian military has refused to speak on the fate of over 200 girls who were abducted from Government Secondary School (GSS), Chibok, Borno State exactly one year ago by Boko Haram terrorists.
All efforts to get the military authorities to comment on the issue proved abortive as spokespersons for the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) and Nigerian Army shied away from discussing the matter.
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According to Thisday the decision not to speak on the missing girls was deliberate in order not to be caught making statements that might require unnecessary retractions or clarifications.
“If I will tell you the truth, the authorities don't want to speak on this matter because we don't want to be dragged into its unnecessary controversies,” a military source said.
Already, the source added, there is indication that some of these girls might have been killed in Bama and other places with some likely to be held in Sambisa forest but that is yet to be verified.
The DHQ has on more than one occasion been forced to clarify or retract statements on the Chibok girls.
However, the military authorities have intensified efforts to recapture, comb and completely rid the dreaded Sambisa forest of terrorists while also searching for the girls.
A military source disclosed to THISDAY that apart from the sustained aerial bombardment of the terrorists’ camps, the ground forces are already on a mission to completely liberate targeted areas.
According to the source, the aim is to liberate the forest before the end of the current administration on May 29 and rescue the Chibok girls if there is any likelihood they are held captive there.
“The Chibok girls issues is still unravelling but no one seems to know exactly where they are or what might have happened to them. One hypothesis is that some of them might have been killed in Bama or other areas, while another is that they or some of them are still being held captive in Sambisa Forest.
“So we are combing the place and our aim is to liberate the area on or before the end of this administration. Already, towns leading to the forest have been liberated. However, the challenge now is that the area is very big, bigger than Lagos and some other states,” the source said.
The Nigerian Army had at the weekend reported that in continuation with the push to capture Sambisa forest, after the capture of Gwoza and Alagarno forest, troops of 3 and 7 Divisions supported by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) had recaptured several towns surrounding the infamous forest, which has become the enclave of Boko Haram terrorists.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, in his facebook account confirmed the liberation of Bita, Izge, Yamteke and Uba towns in Askira Uba and Damboa Local Government Areas of Borno State.