Amnesty International: Nigeria Ignored Warning of Boko Haram Kidnapping in Chibok

Amnesty International: Nigeria Ignored Warning of Boko Haram Kidnapping in Chibok

Amnesty International released a report that says Nigeria was informed at least four hours before Boko Haram raided a boarding school in Chibok and kidnapped almost 300 girls on April 14. The girls are still missing.

The report describes the news as “damning:”

Between 7pm on 14 April and 2am on 15 April, the military commands in Damboa, 36.5 km away from Chibok, and Maiduguri, 130 km away from Chibok, were repeatedly alerted to the threat by both security and local officials.

According to sources interviewed by Amnesty, local civilian patrols (known as “vigilantes”, set up by the military and local authorities) in Gagilam, a neighbouring village, were among the first to raise the alarm on the evening of 14 April after a large group of unidentified armed men entered their village on motorbikes and said they were headed to Chibok. This set off a rapid chain of phone calls to alert officials, including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in Maiduguri.

The Nigerian government did not do anything to protect the young girls allegedly because of poor resources and the government forces’ reluctance to fight against the often better-equipped Boko Haram. The terrorist group is well armed with weapons and machetes. 

However, the few forces in Chibok – reportedly 17 soldiers plus local police – did attempt to fight off Boko Haram, but were crushed.

From one local official:

At around 10:00 PM on 14 April, I called [several] security officers to inform them about earlier information I had received from the vigilantes in Gagilam village. They had told us that strange people had arrived in their village that evening on motorbikes and they said they were heading to Chibok. I made several other calls, including to Maiduguri. I was promised by the security people that [reinforcements] were on their way.

Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria since it was formed in 2002. Hillary Clinton refused to designate the group as a terrorist group during her tenure as secretary of state. Secretary of State John Kerry finally listed Boko Haram in November 2013.