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.
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 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.