The Nigerian military has been placed in a tight corner in its effort to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls because their abductors have kept them “tactically” in the face of attack, sources said yesterday.
According to a report by The Nation, citing a top military source, the girls cannot be rescued using force without some casualties.
The source, who confided in the newspaper on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the subject, insisted that the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was right when he disclosed that the location of the girls has been identified.
The source said: “There is no doubt that the military knows where the girls are being kept. But as the situation is now, troops cannot rescue the girls without heavy casualties.
“The insurgents have placed the girls in a strategic manner that the casualty figures will be higher if the military moves in.
“This is why the military had been careful in storming where the girls are located. We are giving benefit of doubt to those trying to talk to the sect to release the girls. If it works, the better for us all.
“All I can tell you is that the military is battle ready to rescue the girls any moment from now in line with the order of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“If the nation has to pay much sacrifice to rescue the girls, there might be no alternative”.
Responding to a question, the source added: “We will leave the political class to explore all options before striking. The good thing is that the insurgents are also receptive to discussion.
“We hope those assisting will tidy up because once we launch military bombardment, there will be no going back”.
On the recent claim by an Australian expert, Stephen Davies, that he is negotiating the girls’ release, the military source said: “The military is not aware of any such deal. Maybe it was a political initiative but we cannot talk about that.
“We have not had any deal with any Australian negotiator at any point in time. You have to cross check your facts from political establishment”, the source said.