How US, UK Spotted Missing Chibok Girls But Failed To Act – Ambassador Says
Andrew Pocock, former British high commissioner to Nigeria, has told The Sunday Times that surveillance teams of the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) spotted 80 of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls in Sambisa forest shortly after they were kidnapped in April 2014.
Pocock said the information was passed to the authorities but no request was made for help.
He said though the rescue operation could have resulted into the deaths of some of them, a few of them would have regained freedom.
“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,” Pocock was quoted as saying.
“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.
“You might have rescued a few but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment — 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
The Sunday Times said it had seen gruesome [email protected] videos showing that the girls were being used as s*x slaves by the fighters.
Stephen Davis, former canon at Coventry Cathedral, who spent several months in Nigeria trying to negotiate the girls’ freedom, said the failure to mount a rescue was “unconscionable and D!sgust!ng”.
Davis said the locations of the Boko Haram camps were well-known.
He added that the Chibok girls were not the only kidnap victims — and South African mercenaries working with the Nigerian military had released about 1,000 others.
“If they could release that many, that belies the argument that the girls would be killed in the process,” he said.