Hope raised during the week that the over 200 girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno, in the captivity of Boko Haram may soon be freed, following an alleged invasion of Sambisa forest by the military, was yesterday dashed as the military denied the said raid.
The girls have spent over 100 days in the den of the dreaded sect.
The denial of the said raid was made in an exclusive interview with Saturday Mirror in Abuja by a top and reliable General in the Nigerian military.
The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, corroborated the claim that no raid was carried out in Sambisa forest believed to be the den of the sect. Rather, the DHQ said that it was misreported on the operations in the forest.
The source said that troops in the ongoing operations against the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, had never dared to sight the captive girls in the forest since their abduction, not to think of storming it to risk their lives.
Saturday Mirror learnt that the forest was quite deadly at the moment, considering the quality of fire powers wielded by the insurgents, especially around the hostage areas.
According to the source, there had been moves to storm the forest to search for the girls, but the military was faced with operational constraints. “Forget what they are saying, they are all stories.
There have been discussions on storming the forest for the girls, but the truth is that, we all know that it is risky for both the girls and our troops. “As it is now, let the sleeping dog lie peacefully.
We’d better allow the girls to remain there safe and our soldiers too be safe, than to send troops on such deadly mission at this time considering our equipment,” the source said.
When contacted to give evidence on the purported operations in terms of casualties on either sides and whether the girls were being rescued, the Director of Defence Information, D.D.I., Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, denied the report on the operations. “Please note that I was not accurately reported on the subject of operations in Sambisa forest and the Chibok girls.
“The fact is that I spoke purely in terms of influence or scope of military and security operations generally. “I am emphasising the fact that the military has not conceded any place in Nigeria as a portion for terrorists.
“I cannot be discussing any specific military plans and operations in the media the way some media have reported please,” General Olukolade told Saturday Mirror.
It was further learnt that the protest by wives of soldiers in 7 Division, Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Monday, was also informed by the moves to order their husbands to proceed to Sambisa forest on the deadly operations.
The women, it was gathered, complained that the troops were not well equipped to face the enemies. This also, it was learnt, made them to unusually, meddle in the deployment processes of their husbands seeking that having paid some price in the operations, they should be redeployed to other favourable places too to have a relief.
However, the DHQ warned them to steer clear of military operational issues and deployment as these were not their business.