West & Central Africa

Army accused of ‘complacency’ in Dapchi attack

The Nigerian army did not act on information they had which warned of a imminent Boko Haram attack in Dapchi and which led to the abduction of 110 school girls according to a report by Amnesty International.

Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading  towards a town where they abducted 110 schoolgirls at the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state, on 19 February, an investigation by Amnesty International has revealed.

Osai Ojigho, Amnesty’s Nigeria Director, said: “The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it”.

The abduction of the schoolgirls, which had a very similar circumstance with the adduction of over 276 girls in Chibok on the 14th April 2014, has been a massive embarrassment for the Nigerian government.

“The authorities appear to have learned nothing from the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 and failed to ensure protection for civilians in north-east Nigeria, specifically girls’ schools,” said Ojigho.

The reports, which had testimonies from multiple sources, said apart from the information received, at least four hours before the attack, the military in charge of the anti terrorist operation in the region withdrew its troops from the area in January, leaving the school very vulnerable.

Amnesty’s report said on the day of the attack, 19 February, at least five warning calls were made to the security operatives between 2pm and 6.30pm warning them of the impending attack as the Islamic terror group headed for Dapchi, yet the army failed to respond.

Osai Ojigho said “All authorities must now work together to ensure the girls are brought home safely and this never happens again. This abduction is a war crime and those responsible must be brought to justice.”

Meanwhile a Council on foreign relations Nigeria Security Tracker Weekly Update says between March 10 – March 16 98 people were killed and another eight abducted in attacks by Islamic Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram in the predominantly Christian communities and states of the central region of Nigeria.

Bassa local council near Jos in Plateau state suffered the worst hit with the killing of over 37 people, mostly women and children, between 12-16 March.

A Church leader in Bassa, and an executive of the Christian association of Nigeria, in the community, Rev. Andrew Okebe, said, “This is a war on Christians and Christian communities, Latinized and backed by the Nigerian government. There is no way to interpret or explain the fact that the Islamic Fulani herdsmen, already named as the fourth terrorist origination in the world, will continue to kill Christians and the government deliberately refuses to do anything about it. Can you imagine what it would have been if the communities divested are Muslims? not only will the government respond, even arab countries will cry out.”

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image Credits/Google Images/soldiers/ Dapchi Hostel