Nigerian military to seek help from AFRICOM to rescue abducted pupils
London, Dec. 16, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Nigerian military is considering many seeking external help, to rescue over 300 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) Kankara, Katsina State.
A top military officer confided in a leading Nigerian tabloid, THISDAY that one of the options being considered is to seek assistance from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) to launch a rescue bid leveraging on its sophisticated technology for such operation
The paper gathered that the help might not be unconnected with a recent intelligence by the US government (AFRICOM) on the movement of terror groups to the sub-region
AFRICOM had recently alerted Nigeria and other West African nations that ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terror groups were making inroads into the West African sub-region, exploiting local differences and collaborating with affiliates.
The United States Special Forces recently rescued an American kidnapped from a farm in Niger Republic in Sokoto State. During the operations, the Special Forces killed six of the kidnappers, four from Niger and two from Nigeria.
“At many levels, strategic levels there is a flurry of activities to rescue the children safely and keep the peace of the nation,” the source added.
The source said the military was looking at many options irrespective of ongoing negotiations with the kidnappers.
He said: “We have our constitutional mandate, which we are pursuing. We are not discouraging other options, be it negotiations or any other thing.
“We are focused on the rescue of the children, having established location. The issue of collateral damage is also being looked at. The safety of the children is paramount.”
The source also dismissed claims by Boko Haram that it staged the kidnap of the Katsina students as propaganda.
On the claim by Boko Haram that it kidnapped the pupils, the source, who asked not to be named, said: “It is in their character to make such bogus claims in situations like this. It is part of their propaganda. Anything that happens in Nigeria is linked to Boko Haram.
“The fact that they have collaborators is not in doubt but this is propaganda.”
Earlier, the terror group, in an audio message released yesterday, had said it was behind last week’s kidnapping of hundreds of schoolboys in Katsina State.
So far, more than 300 pupils are unaccounted for, but others managed to escape.
The government had previously blamed “bandits” for the attack.
In a four-minute audio message trending on social media, the leader of the deadly Islamic sect, Mr. Abubakar Shekau, claimed his members kidnapped the schoolboys because Western education is against the tenets of Islam.