US Marines Locate Chibok Schoolgirls in Sambisa Forest
yesterday that the 276 female students abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from
the Government Girls’ Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Borno State, have been sited
at the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, by the Special Forces of the United
The girls, who
were abducted on April 14, were part of the 250 students boarded at the School
for the West African School Certificate, WASC/ Senior Secondary School
Certificate (SSSC) examinations, triggering world-wide condemnations.
This was even
as more US military officials arrived Nigeria yesterday to join local officials
in the search for nearly 300 school girls taken captives by the Islamist
extremist group, Boko Haram, the US Secretary of State John Kerry, and the Defence
Department, Pentagon, said.
The UK team had
earlier arrived in Abuja to support the Federal Government of Nigerian in its
response to the abduction of over 200 school girls.
The arrival of
the foreign troops is coming on the heels of the appeal yesterday by the former
Vice President, Atiku Abubakar for Nigerians to unite and fight the insurgents
to achieve success.
Kerry, “Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now and they are
going to be working with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do
everything that we possibly can to return these girls.”
The CNN also
quoted the U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, John Kirby, who serves as Pentagon press
secretary, as saying that the small team of seven would join advisers
supporting local efforts to find the girls abducted over three weeks ago.
Kerry said the
US team, working with the Nigerian government, would do everything possible to
free the girls and everything possible to stop the atrocities of Boko Haram.
“We are also
going to do everything possible to counter the menace of Boko Haram. The entire
world should not only be condemning this outrage but should be doing everything
possible to help Nigeria in the days ahead,” he added.
But there are
no plans to send American combat troops into Nigeria, Mr. Kirby said.
of the school girls on April 14 in a remote community in Borno State, one of
the most shocking terrorist acts by Boko Haram yet, has drawn widespread anger
around the world with calls for a swift action.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan said Thursday that the kidnapping will be “the
beginning of end” of Boko Haram.
President Obama has said he hopes the abduction by Boko Haram will galvanize
the international community to act against the brutal group that has directed
much of its cruelty on civilians and the innocent.
This week alone,
more than 100 people were killed in a busy market by militants suspected to be
from the group. The attack occurred in Gamboru Ngala, Borno State, near the
Nigerian border with Cameroun.
United States, Britain, France and China have also offered to help rescue the
stolen girls. Obama said the team sent to Nigeria comprised personnel from
military, law enforcement and other agencies.
France said it
will station 3,000 troops in Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to help fight
militants in the Sahel region.
satellites and advanced tracking capabilities also will be used, and China has
promised to provide any intelligence gathered by its satellite network.
statement yesterday by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said,
“A team of UK experts who will advise and support the Nigerian authorities in
its response to the abduction of over 200 school girls touched down in Abuja,
Nigeria this morning”.
The team is
drawn from across government, including DfID, FCO and the MoD, and will work
with the Nigerian authorities leading on the abductions and terrorism in
Nigeria. The team will be considering not just the recent incidents but also
longer-term counter-terrorism solutions to prevent such attacks in the future
and defeat Boko Haram.
The team will
be working closely with their US counterparts and others to coordinate efforts.
sources said that apart from abducting the girls, the insurgents also carted
away food items and vehicles as well as killing undisclosed number of people in
Chibok on the fateful night.
In Abuja, the sources
disclose that members of the United States Marines who are already in Maiduguri
following the promise by President Barak Obama to assist Nigeria in rescuing
the abducted girls, located the girls inside the forest, using some Satellite
equipment which combed the forest, located an assembly of the young girls and
sent the images back to the Marines on ground in Maiduguri. Apart from locating
the whereabouts of the girls in the dense forest, it was also gathered that one
of the leaders of the terrorist group who participated in the abduction of the
girls has been arrested by a combined team of the US Marines and Nigerian
that the Boko Haram leader was arrested, through advanced interceptor equipment
which was used to track the terrorist while exchanging information with his
colleagues in Sambisa Forest about the movements of American and Nigerian
soldiers in Maiduguri.
His phone was
subsequently traced to a location in Maiduguri where he was arrested and handed
over to the Nigerian military.
The girls are
still in Sambisa Forest contrary to widespread reports that they had been
distributed and ferried to the Nigerian border towns in Cameroon Chad and Niger
Zanna, representing Borno Central District in whose Maiduguri home, an alleged
Boko Haram top commander was once arrested told the Senate last week that he
gave the Military up-to-date information on how the girls could be rescued, but
lamented that his information was largely ignored.
against the backdrop of the claim by the Boko Haram leader, Sheik Abubakar
Shekau, last week that the girls were booties of war, who would be sold into
The arrival of
the foreign military officials is coming on the heels of the appeal yesterday
by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Nigerians to unite and fight
Atiku said that
Nigeria had reached a turning point in the war against terrorism, asking the
people irrespective of class, status, religion or party affiliation to unite to
ensure victory over evil.
his opinion on his blog on the website lamenting the high level of insurgency
resulting in the abduction of female students by Boko Haram Islamist sect,
pointing out Nigerians can no longer afford any other thing, but a united
commitment to stamp out what he termed ‘’a great evil that threatens the very
existence of the only place we can call our home.’’
Atiku wrote in
his blog, “While I have had and continue to have major policy differences with
the government in Abuja and its leadership, as a nation we must remain united.
”We have come
to a turning point in our war against terrorism in Nigeria. It is a critical
moment for us; the war will not be won without us winning this battle. In
short, if one is not part of the solution, they become part of the problem.
”And at a
moment like this, we can no longer afford anything but a united commitment to
stamping out a great evil that threatens the very existence of the only place
we call home.
media, I have been amazed by the outpouring of solidarity from within and
outside Nigeria. While on the one hand it is sad to see Nigeria in the news for
its inability to protect its most vulnerable citizens, it is also clear that in
the age of social media no concerns or problems are local.
”It is in light
of this that I welcome the offer of military support from the United States,
United Kingdom, France and others, and the acceptance by the Nigerian
government. While I believe that we waited too long to get to this point of
admitting our need for external help, I will also insist that it’s better late
”We must make
it clear that under no circumstances should any person, group of persons, or
organization ever be permitted to prey on the children of Nigeria, or any other
country. We must make it easy for everyone who has information about this crime
against humanity to contact the authorities at once.
”We must make
it easy for the innocent population of the affected areas to see the Nigerian
military and authorities as friends, not enemies. We must make it easy for our
soldiers to be loyal and committed to this great and difficult task ahead of
”We must make
it easy for the world to see Nigeria as a country that cares for all its
citizens, regardless of their age, gender, religion, ethnic group or economic
class. We must remember the people most affected, trapped on the frontlines of
support, relief and rehabilitation. ”We must remember they will
need help when they are returned home to their families and their loved ones.
And we must make it difficult for anyone to play politics with this crisis.
absolutely nothing, is worth the bloodshed and the destruction we have come to
associate with this campaign of terror. Not party affiliations, not the 2015
elections. We are in a race against time. For every day we delay our response,
or allow ourselves to be caught up in needless bickering, we hand victory over
to the forces of darkness and despair, like Boko Haram.”
In a related
development, the Lagos State Police Command said yesterday that the rumour
about activities of Boko Haram members in some parts of the state was false.
The Public Relations
Officer, PRO, of the Lagos State Police Command, DSP Ngozi Braide, made this
known at a news conference yesterday, at Premier College Group of Schools, Palm
Avenue, Mushin, where the sect members allegedly invaded.
“It is not true
that there is any act of terrorism anywhere in Lagos State. It is a lie that
the terrorists invaded Premier College to abduct students.
sat down somewhere and cooked up the lies to cause panic in the state.
College and other schools in the state are safe and secure; let the public
discountenance the rumour”, she said.
Director of the college, Mr Abraham Martins, spoke in the same
vein, describing the rumour as “false and baseless.”
indications that with the confirmation that the girls are still within Nigerian
territory, contrary to widespread reports that the girls have been distributed
and ferried out, the original plan to storm Sambisa Forest which was put on
hold, would now be activated. It is however not clear if and when the rescue
operation would begin.
In the same
vein, the Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) has joined millions of
Nigerians to express worry over the continued abduction of 234 female students
and called on the Federal Government to ensure that the girls are rescued
unhurt to re-unite with their families.
association, in a statement signed by its Chief Commissioner, Dame (Dr)
Christie Toby also challenged on Nigerians to be security conscious and assist
law enforcement agencies in fighting the enemies of the nation.
“The NGGA joins
all well-meaning people all over the world to express shock over the abduction
of 234 innocent school girls in Borno State.
“We are sad
that up till this moment, these girls are still missing. The NGGA, being a
female organisation, is especially concerned, and condemns such a heinous act.
“We declare our
support for these girls and their families and pray God to strengthen them in
these trying times. We appreciate the fact that government is fighting
terrorism in Nigeria, but we are appealing to President Jonathan to ensure that
these girls are returned safely to their families so that they can continue
with their education.
“We also appeal
to all security agencies and people of goodwill to support President Jonathan
as they work to bring back our dear girls,” the statement added.