This post was first published on Vanguard Newspapers, see the story and a link to the original story on Vanguard below:
Military sources told Saturday Vanguard in Abuja 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.
Aside locating the whereabouts of the girls in the dense forest, it was also, further gathered that one of the leaders of terrorist group who participated in the abduction of the girls was arrested by a combined team of the US Marines and Nigerian forces.
Sources said that the Boko Haram leader was arrested, through an 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 location of the girls in the forest is contrary to widespread reports that the girls had been distributed and ferried to the Nigerian border towns in Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
Senator Ahmed 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 an up-to-date information on how the girls could be rescued, but lamented that his information was largely ignored.
He spoke 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 slavery.
Atiku appeals for unity to defeat Boko Haram
However, 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 the insurgents.
Atiku said on 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.
”On social 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 than never.
”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 them.
”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 the battle.
They need 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.
’’Nothing, 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.”
No Boko Haram activities in Lagos —Police
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 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.
“Somebody just sat down somewhere and cooked up the lies to cause panic in the state.
“Premier College and other schools in the state are safe and secure; let the public discountenance the rumour,“ she said.
The Executive Director of the college, Mr Abraham Martins, spoke in the same vein, describing the rumour as ”false and baseless.”
There are 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 the rescue operation would begin.
Nigerian Girl Guides Association expresses worry
Meanwhile, 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.
The association, in a statement signed by its Chief Commissioner, Dame (Dr) Christie Toby also challenged 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 specially 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.