Nigeria: How Nigerian Military Caused Dapchi Attack, Kidnap of Schoolgirls - Governor

Front view of the dormitory from where the girls were abducted.
25 February 2018

The Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, has blamed the Nigeria military for the attack on Dapchi town and the abduction of schoolgirls from the community by Boko Haram.

Mr. Gaidam said the attack came barely a week after the military withdrew troops from the town.

He said if the soldiers had been on ground, the attack on the town and subsequent abduction of schoolgirls would not have been possible.

Mr. Gaidam said this when he hosted the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who was in Damaturu on a sympathy visit.

"I blame the whole attack on Dapchi on the military and the defence headquarters who withdrew troops from Dapchi. The attack occurred barely a week after the military withdrew the soldiers from there," the Yobe governor said.

"Before then, Dapchi has been peaceful, there was never such incident. But just a week after they withdrew the troops, Boko Haram came to attack the town.

The governor said the Dapchi incident was not the first time the absence of soldiers in the Boko Haram troubled state would be expose residents to such kind of attacks.

He also recalled that in 2013, a secondary school in Buni-Yadi was attacked a week after the military removed soldiers guarding the town. At least 29 students were killed in that attack.

"Let me be quoted anywhere, the military must take blame for the attack on Dapchi. The same thing happened in 2013 when the military suddenly removed troops guarding the town and a week later Boko Haram went there to attack the town and the secondary school there killing 29 students."

The military is yet to release any official statement on the Dapchi attack, but told PREMIUM TIMES last week it was not aware any of the girls had been rescued contrary to a claim by the state government which was later withdrawn.

The Yobe State Government recently said it has spent N15.8 billion in the last three years on fighting the Boko Haram insurgency. Most of the expenditure are in form of support for the military, the state said.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Shettima who was in Damaturu on behalf of the Northern Governors' Forum which he heads, expressed his sympathy to the government and people of Yobe State over the "unfortunate incident".

"On behalf of the 19 Northern Governors' forum, we have come to show our sympathy and let you know that we are with you in this traumatic period," he said.

Mr. Shettima called on the security agencies to ensure the abducted girls are rescued on time.

Over 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped last Monday by the terrorists when they attacked the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi.

The federal government is yet to acknowledge the exact number of girls kidnapped by the terrorists. Parents of the girls, however, released 105 names of missing girls believed to have been abducted by the terrorists.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and that of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, are currently in Yobe as part of efforts to review the situation.

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