The United Kingdom and United States knew the whereabouts of the abducted Chibok girls.
This was according to the former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andrew Pocock, who said the Government Girls College Students, were spotted in Sambisa forest by a surveillance camera, but couldn’t rescue them as the Nigerian government failed to make a request for their assistance.
It will be recalled that more than 80 girls from a Secondary school in Chibok, Borno State were abducted in October 2014, by members of the Boko Haram sect.
Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Times UK, Pocock 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. They were there for perhaps up to four weeks, and the question was what to do about them. Answer came there none.
“What’s more,” he said, “the Nigerians never asked for that.”
He however, noted that it would have been a very risky mission, if the Nigerian government had demanded for their help, adding that the girls “were beyond rescue”.
“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed. An air-based rescue would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more 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? It’s perfectly conceivable that Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, would have appeared on one of his videos a week later, saying, ‘Who told you that you could try and free these girls? Let me show you what I’ve done to them…’ So you were damned if you did, damned if you didn’t. They were beyond rescue, in practical terms. “Pocock added.