In 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped by Islamist militants Boko Haram from Chibok town of Borno state in northern Nigeria. The girls were captured while preparing for their term ending exams. The perceived nonchalance of the Nigerian government led to the creation of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The campaign saw several celebrities and many notable personalities urging the Nigerian government to bring back these girls from the heinous hands of Boko Haram.
New reports have shown that governments of the United States and United Kingdom knew about the whereabouts of the 200+ kidnapped Chibok girls.
Dr Andrew Pocock the former British High Commissioner to Nigeria stated that some 80 girls were spotted by the US and UK high surveillance shortly after the Chibok girls were kidnapped but rescuing them was something of a dilemma as it risked the probability of the rest of the girls being killed.
He said, “A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American eye in the sky spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa forest, around a very large tree, called locally the Tree of Life, along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment
“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed, an air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so to the girls.
“You might have rescued a few but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment — 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Christina Lamb, conducting an investigation for the Sunday Times magazine revealed that Dr Pocock had passed the information to the Nigeria government, but the government hadn’t asked for their help.
She said, “They film schoolgirls being raped over and over again until their scream become silent Os.’
She also reported that girls who escaped said they were being put in women’s prisons were they are being taught Islam. Some of the terrorists pick wives from the prisons. The girls are compelled to be obedient by showing them videos of other girls being tortured and raped, explaining that the same will befall them if they tried to escape.
Boko Haram which pledged allegiance to ISIL, seeks the extermination of western education in Nigeria and an Islamic caliphate. The militants have resorted to using female suicide bombers in their recent attacks, leading many to think that they could be one of the missing Chibok girls.