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Dapchi: Nigerian troops failed to act on warnings about Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army has been accused of failing to act on “advance warnings” given a few hours before Boko Haram militants abducted 110 girls from a school  in Dapchi, in northeast Nigeria last month.

“The authorities appear to have learned nothing from the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state in 2014 and failed to ensure protection for civilians in northeast Nigeria, specifically girls’ schools, said Amnesty International Monday.

The human rights group alleges the army and police received at least five calls on the afternoon of February 19, warning them that gunmen were heading to the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi town.

A police source in Dapchi told Amnesty International that officers fled because they feared the Boko Haram fighters would overpower them.

It cited evidence from eye witnesses and residents who claimed they alerted Geidam army base in the Nigerian state of Yobe and local police after they saw a convoy of gunmen heading towards the girls’ school.

“The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.
Amnesty also criticized the Nigerian army for withdrawing military troops from Dapchi town some weeks before the school was raided.
It said the military’s decision meant “the closest personnel were based one hour’s drive” from the town. “Why were insufficient troops available? Why was it decided to withdraw troops?,” Ojigho asked.

The sighting of an armed convoy at Futchimiram immediately sparked several phone calls to alert authorities. Sources who informed the military commander in Geidam at 2pm report that he responded to them by saying he was aware of the situation and was monitoring it.

At around 3pm, the convoy arrived in Gumsa, where they remained till 5pm. People in Gumsa called Dapchi villagers to warn them that Boko Haram fighters were on their way. One villager who received such a call said he informed a police sergeant who promised to notify the Dapchi Division Police Officer (DPO).

At around 6:30pm, when residents were heading to the mosque for evening prayers, Boko Haram members entered Dapchi. Witnesses said Boko Haram fighters asked for directions to the military post, the local government office and the girls’ school.

 

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Written by Per Second News

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