by Bayo Akinloye
BRITAIN’s Royal Air Force plans to send three fighter jets to help in locating the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents on April 14 this year.
The RAF Tornado GR4s equipped with surveillance facilities, according to Daily Mail on Wednesday, will undertake “reconnaissance missions” over the Sambissa Forest where the girls are believed to be held.
A British government source told The Times that the jets would help the Nigerian authorities in tracking the movements of the insurgents.
The report however added that the mission was dependent on a nearby nation giving the British government the nod to use its runway.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman did not deny the report about the deployment of the planes.
He said, “The United Kingdom continues to work with the United States and France as well as Nigeria’s neighbours and international partners to provide advice and assistance to the Nigerian government.
“Together with our allies we have provided continuous surveillance support to the Nigerian authorities, including satellite imagery. We are still in discussion with partners on the deployment of further surveillance capability.”
Last Friday, Britain’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, had condemned the abduction of over 100 people in Nigeria and had pledged that the UK would continue to support in the fight against Boko Haram.
He said, “I am appalled to see reports of another large abduction by terrorists in the North- East of Nigeria. Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja are urgently looking into the details. The UK stands firmly with Nigeria as it faces the scourge of Boko Haram.”
The group on Monday killed at least three people and kidnapped 15 others in a fresh cross-border attack in northern Cameroon.
“The attack took place on Monday afternoon when at least 20 armed men tried to get food supplies, stealing all the [food] stocks found in the Cameroonian village of Greya,” the source told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
The source added, “Boko Haram militants killed at least three civilians and abducted a dozen others – presumably all Cameroonians.’’