Nigeria’s army has dismissed the report by human rights group Amnesty International that it was forewarned about the attack on the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, where over 300 school girls were abducted by Islamist sect Boko Haram.
Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade on Saturday denied separate reports on Friday by Al Jazeera and Amnesty International that the Nigerian military had received advance warnings of the attack on the Chibok school, describing the reports as “unfounded”.
Amnesty said on Friday it was told that security forces were given four hours’ notice of the attack on April 14, but failed to reinforce the town.
Two politicians from Borno state, which borders Chibok, separately told Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege that the army had been given at least two hours’ notice.
Makmid Kamara, a Nigeria researcher for Amnesty, on Friday said: “We received information and we spoke to a senior Nigerian military officer … that they had received intelligence reports, even before local authorities and politicians got the information, that gunmen were on their way to the Chibok town.”
Kamara told Al Jazeera that senior officials in Maiduguri and Dambua towns were alerted at about 7pm on April 14, and that information was given to senior military officers based in Dambua and Maiduguri.
“Later on, at 10pm on the same night of the 14th of April, local authorities, who Amnesty had spoken to, informed us, that they informed the local military command in Chibok town about the planned attack,” Kamara said.
“When I spoke to one of the senior military officials, they informed me that they [had] informed their superiors, and requested for reinforcement. But the reinforcement did not come.”
The school was said to have been attacked at 11.45pm.
“Only 17 troops were there to face the attack and they were outgunned and outnumbered,” Kamara said.
“They had to flee for their lives together with some other villagers.”