We Don’t Know The Location Of Chibok Girls – US

Chibok-girlsThe United States on Friday said it had reduced its surveillance flights in the search for the about 219 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno State, over two months ago, but added that the overall effort has not been affected due to more flights by other countries.

It also stated that it had no idea where the girls are located, noting however that there is no giving up in the efforts to locate and rescue them.

This revelation might just be an indication that the US and Nigerian military authorities are working at cross-purposes because we recall that the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, while addressing members of an NGO, the Citizen Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA) last month, said categorically: “The good news for parents of the girls is that we know where they are but we cannot tell you. We cannot come and tell you the military’s secret. Just leave us alone to do our work. We are working to get the girls back”.

But Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters, according to Reuters that “We don’t have any better idea today than we did before about where these girls are, but there’s been no letup of the effort itself”.

Kirby said the same level of effort was being sustained now through the involvement of the international community.

The Pentagon spokesman, however, denied a suggestion that US flights over Nigeria had been reduced to accommodate increased US surveillance over Iraq, where Washington is flying unmanned and manned aircraft to gather intelligence about Sunni insurgents.

He noted that some of the resources that were being used in Nigeria had been diverted from other missions in Africa and could now be used elsewhere on the continent.

US military personnel are in Abuja helping to coordinate the effort to rescue the abducted girls while some 80 others were deployed to Chad last month to support the surveillance operation.

Chad shares border with Nigeria on the North-East, specifically, Borno, which is regarded as Boko Haram’s stronghold.

In the last month, US officials had downplayed expectations about a swift rescue of the girls and stressed the limitations of intelligence from surveillance flights.

One US official particularly raised concerns that the insurgents might have booby-trapped areas where the girls could be held, and there had been reports that they might have been split up into groups as against being held in one place.

The defence official said surveillance alone would not lead to a resolution noting that “It will take the Nigerian piece of the equation with their own sources and human intelligence coupled with the other forms to really understand the picture”.