The Nigerian’s military is continuing with the fight to combat terrorism and would not be deterred to rescue all civilians including the kidnapped Chibok School girls abducted by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, director of Defense Information, said Saturday.
Abubakar said the army has not given up efforts to find the missing girls and return them home safely to their parents. This, after dismissing the recently released video allegedly showing proof the abducted Chibok school girls were still alive.
In an interview with VOA, Abubakar called the video inconclusive and a demonstration of the frustration of the militants due to the army’s continued pressure on them. He said it is uncertain that the latest video released by Boko Haram is genuine, describing it as propaganda tool.
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He urged the media not to drag the military into a media war with Boko Haram following the release of the video. Abubakar said the military is focused on ensuring the country maintains its territorial integrity by defeating the radical Islamist group.
Abubakar declined to give details about plans to rescue the abducted Chibok girls and other kidnapped victims from the Boko Haram militants, but added the military will not be deterred in the commitment to bring back the girls home.
“Our operations are on course and we have a total unified operation against the Boko Haram, which led to the total decimating and breaking their will in order to wage any reasonable attack against the armed force and other security agency locations. These are indications that they are weak… However, terrorists as they are rely on information to champion their cause keep on coming up with series of purported, unconfirmed…clips.,” said Abubakar.
“So the issue of video or not video is not our concern, because that will not affect our operations… towards liberating whoever are with the terrorists; either the Chibok girls or non-Chibok girls," he said.
Critics of the military said it appears the security agencies are not up to the task to rescue the abducted school girls. They cited instances of suicide bombings in Nigeria and the ability of the militants to launch cross-border attacks in neighboring countries including Cameroon as examples of the potency of Boko Haram, despite what they said are claims by the army and government of technically defeating the militant group.
“So many of them have surrendered to the armed forces and other security agencies. We have about 800 Boko Haram members who surrendered willingly. And these are some of the things which the remnants are not happy with, and they are doing all sorts of things to tell the international community and the domestic audience that they are still alive, but they are not,” said Abubakar.
Local media reported that the army has opened a backdoor channel to negotiate with the militants to release the kidnapped Chibok girls.
“These are some of the blackmails, which some organizations or groups are [peddling] against members of the Nigerian military and its allies. All these things are not true and are dreams of those who are saying it. The Nigerian military [is] strong enough to quash not only Boko Haram, we have done it elsewhere and we will do it in this country, and I believe we have all the capacity to do that,” said Abubakar.