18 April 2017

Nigeria: Finding Chibok Girls May Take Years, General Warns

Photo: Premium Times

Nigeria's defense minister has warned it may take years to find all the Chibok girls kidnapped by the militant group Boko Haram.

Speaking to VOA's Hausa service, General Manir Dan Ali said the military is searching Boko Haram's hideouts in the Sambisa Forest, a vast area covering parts of three states in northeastern Nigeria.

He noted that it took a long time for the United States to find 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

"It took the U.S. up to seven, eight, up to 10 years before they could get to bin Laden," he said. "We are continuing our campaigning in the Sambisa Forest in all its nooks and corners."

Ali spoke to VOA as activists mark the third anniversary of the girls' abductions. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 students from a secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok on April 13, 2014. There are 195 girls still missing.

In 2014, Boko Haram seized control of much of northeastern Nigeria but has been driven back by a Nigerian-led, multinational military campaign.

Despite the success, the government's inability to find the girls or determine their fate is overshadowing the military victory.

Sheikh Nuru Khalid, a member of the influential Interfaith group that tries to ensure peace between Nigerian Muslims and Christians, says failure to find the girls would translate into a victory for Boko Haram.

"We can never allow the terrorists to win the war. If they got [away] free with those girls, then they have relatively won the war," he said.

Human rights lawyer Abdu Bulama Bukar told VOA Hausa that the government needs to address the psychological trauma suffered by the families of the missing girls and other victims of Boko Haram brutality.

"Married women have been made single again; kids have been orphaned; homeowners are without shelter; Nigerians have been turned into refugees in their own homeland," he said.

More on This

It May Take Years to Free All Kidnapped Chibok Girls - Defence Minister

Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali, has said it might take years to find all the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.