AFRICANGLOBE – The former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocock, has disclosed that the United States and the United Kingdom knew all along the whereabouts of about 80 of abducted Chibok girls by Boko Haram but failed to launch a rescue mission or to immediately disclose the information.
Pocock further claimed that a large group of the missing girls were spotted by the UK and the US surveillance officials shortly after their disappearance but claimed that nothing could be done.
The former UK envoy, who stated this during an interview with The Sunday Times of London, added that Western governments felt “powerless” to help as any rescue attempt would have been too risky with Boko Haram terrorists using the girls as human shields.
Pocock 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.”
According to Pocock, the Chibok girls were there for at least four weeks but authorities were ‘powerless’ to intervene, saying however that the federal government (under former President Goodluck Jonathan) did not ask for help.
He said: “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.”
In an investigation by Christina Lamb for the Sunday Times Magazine, Pocock said the information was later passed to the Nigerians but they made no request for help.
A former canon at Coventy Cathedral, Dr. Stephen Davis, who has spent several years attempting to negotiate with the terror group, said Boko Haram “makes ISIS look like playtime” and said it is “beyond belief” that the authorities both in Nigeria and the West do not know where the schoolgirls are.
Davis insists the locations of the camps where the girls are being kept are well known and can even be seen on Google maps. He added: “How many girls have to be raped and abducted before the West will do anything?”
Boko Haram members had stormed the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok in Borno State on April 14, 2014 and seized about 276 girls, who were preparing for end-of-year examination.
Although 57 of the girls managed to escape, the rest have remained missing and have not been heard from or seen since apart from in May that year, when 130 of them appeared in a Boko Haram video wearing hijabs and reciting the Koran.
By: Raliat Ahmed-Yusuf