9th May, 2014
The Defence Headquarters has faulted the allegation by Amnesty International that the military authority was informed of the impending attack on the school in Chibok but failed to nip it in the bud
It described the allegation as “very unfortunate and untrue”.
Spokesman Maj._Gen Chris Olukolade said that much as the Nigerian military appreciated the global concern and show of solidarity with the country at this trying moments it, however, noted that falsehood should not be introduced as a means of assessing the situation.
“It has to be categorically stated that the claims by Amnesty International in its report that security forces had advance warning about the abduction of students of Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno State by terrorists is unfounded.”
The statement explained that troops in Maiduguri did not receive four hours forewarning about the attacks.
It said that rather they received information of an ongoing attack on Chibok community from troops on patrol.
According to the statement, the troops on noting the attack engaged the terrorists and called for more reinforcement to contain them.
“As the troops on reinforcement traversed the over 120km rugged and tortuous road from Maiduguri to Chibok, they ran into an ambush by terrorists who engaged them in fierce firefight and a number of soldiers lost their lives.
“Another set of soldiers also mobilised for the mission but arrived after the terrorists had escaped due to a series of misleading information that slowed down the pursuit.
The statement said that it must, therefore, be clearly stated that contrary to the claim by the Amnesty International, the information received by troops at the Division Headquarters in Maiduguri was not a forewarning but a call for reinforcement by troops on patrol.
“Considering the vastness of the mission area, deployment has been more of patrols than static.
“The imputation of cowardice on the part of troops is particularly confounding as the military has internal mechanism to deal with such tendencies.
“These spurious allegations are obviously a continuation of the campaign intended to cause disaffection, portray the military in bad light and undermine the counter-terrorism efforts.
“Although the Chibok incident is still subject to more investigation, the DHQ appeals to individuals and organisations to refrain from circulating spurious allegations that could undermine both the operation and investigation of conduct of the mission generally.