Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: We’ve located abducted Chibok girls – Defence Chief

ABUJA—FORTY-THREE days after more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok, Borno State by insurgent sect, Boko Haram, the Military High Command, yesterday, had cheering news for the traumatised parents as it said it has located where the girls were being held hostage but would not use force to rescue them.

Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh disclosed this in Abuja even as UK media reported, yesterday, that but for the last minute change of mind by President Goodluck Jonathan, the abducted Chibok girls would have been freed.

Badeh, while addressing members of the Citizen Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), an NGO on a solidarity campaign to the Defence Headquarters, said that the military will not use force in the rescue operation. He, however, assured that everything was being done to ensure their safe rescue.

His words: “We want our girls back, I can tell you our military can do it, but where they are held, do we go with force? Nobody should say Nigerian military does not know what it is doing. We can’t kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back. So we are working. The President has empowered us to do the work and no one should castigate the military.

We know where the girls are — CDS

“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”.

The CDS disclosed that the fight against insurgency was quite different from a full scale war, pointing out that “if we are fighting an external war, Boko Haram would have been begging us to withdraw.

He said: “Nigerian military had proved its worth in the civil war, Liberia and Sierra-Leone wars and in the process returned democracy to those countries”.

On operations in the North-East, the CDS said the challenge was that the military was fighting its fellow brothers. “We are not happy at all because we are killing our own and we are killing mostly youths. We cannot afford to eliminate our youths. Who are we going to handover Nigeria to? We can’t continue to kill them.”

While noting that the military in Nigeria is the strong arm of democracy, he said it (military) holds the constitution very dear, adding that the constitution is represented by the President.

“We are using our lives to defend this democracy. Democracy must thrive in Nigeria whether anybody likes it or not. People have finally realised that you don’t have another military than this one and it is either you support your military or you are looking for anarchy”, he said.

He noted that the war should not be fought by the military alone, but by all Nigerians, adding that Nigeria is at war and all hands must be on deck.

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