The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Thursday regretted the politicisation of the on going counter insurgency operation and withdraws the statement claiming freedom for 121 female students that were abducted.
"The controversy that has been generated around the efforts at securing the lives and freedom of the abducted students of Government Girls' Secondary School, Chibok is unfortunate.
"The ongoing frantic efforts of security forces along with vigilante groups including hunters working to locate and free the abducted students have continued to be keenly monitored at the Operation Centre of the Defence and Army Headquarters as regular progress reports are being received from troops on the ground," it said.
On the controversial claim that only eight of the abducted girls were left out, the military explained how it arrived at the position which it traced to a field report.
"In this regard, a report was filed in from the field indicating that a major breakthrough had been recorded in the search. There was no reason to doubt this official channel, hence the information was released to the public immediately.
"Surprisingly however, the school principal, one of the sources quoted in the report has denied all that was attributed to her for whatever reasons. This is an unfortunate development indeed, yet the Defence Headquarters would not want to join issues with anyone.
"It has to be reaffirmed however, that the report forwarded to the public on this issue was in good faith and not intended to deceive the public as is being interpreted following the denials by the School principal and Government of Borno State.
"Like all other citizens, the military is deeply concerned to ensure that the students are safe and freed alive. There is indeed no reason to play politics with the precious lives of the students. The number of those still missing is not the issue now as the life of every Nigerian is very precious.
"In the light of the denial by the principal of the school, the Defence Headquarters wishes to defer to the school principal and Governor's statement on the number of students still missing and retract that aspect of earlier statement while the search continues."