Report: Nigerian security forces had advanced warning about abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls

"I was promised by the security people that reinforcement were on their way," said one official

Katie McDonough
May 9, 2014 7:27PM (UTC)

According to a report from Amnesty International, Nigerian security forces had advance warning that Boko Haram was planning an attack on the girls' school in Chibok, but did nothing to stop it. The allegations are based on interviews with multiple unnamed sources who told Amnesty that the Nigerian military learned about the plan four hours before the girls were abducted, but failed to act.

The report alleges that between 7pm on April 14 and 2am on April 15, local military commands were "repeatedly alerted to the threat by both security and local officials." Local civilian patrols warned that a group of unidentified men on motorbikes said they were en route to Chibok, which "set off a rapid chain of phone calls to alert officials, including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in Maiduguri."


One of the officials contacted told Amnesty:

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 reinforcement were on their way.

But reinforcements never came, and more than 250 girls have been missing for more than three weeks.

"The fact that Nigerian security forces knew about Boko Haram’s impending raid, but failed to take the immediate action needed to stop it, will only amplify the national and international outcry at this horrific crime," said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty’s Africa Director.


“It amounts to a gross dereliction of Nigeria’s duty to protect civilians, who remain sitting ducks for such attacks," she continued in a statement. "The Nigerian leadership must now use all lawful means at their disposal to secure the girls’ safe release and ensure nothing like this can happen again."


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Nigeria Nigerian School Girls Missing Violence Against Women Violence Against Women And Girls

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