Nigeria’s highest ranking military officer on Monday gave a glimmer of hope to the families of more than 200 schoolgirls held by Boko Haram militants, revealing they had located the missing teenagers.
Nigeria’s government and military have been sharply criticised for their response to the mass abduction on April 14 and were finally forced to accept foreign help, including from the United States, in the rescue effort.
Unmanned US drones and surveillance aircraft have been scouring northeast Nigeria and neighbouring Chad from the air while British, French and Israeli teams have been on the ground providing specialist assistance.
Badeh was speaking after addressing demonstrators who had marched on Defence Headquarters in Abuja, the latest in a series of daily protests that has sought to keep up the pressure on the government.
The officer refused to divulge any further details, describing the operation as a “military secret”, but he added: “We are working. We will get the girls back.”
Addressing the protesters, Badeh said the military was faced with a dilemma of whether to send in ground troops, given fears of deaths and casualties among the 223 girls still being held.