Following last Friday’s dislodging of Boko Haram from their base at the Sambisa Forest by the Nigerian Army, there are fears that the fleeing militants may have used some of the girls kidnapped in 2014 from Chibok Secondary School in Borno State as human shields to prevent being fired upon by fighter jets, a military commander said on Wednesday.
Buoyed by the success, over 3,000 refugees and internally displaced persons returned to Damasak town, Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State on Monday and were received by a combined team of Local Government Officials, traditional rulers, village elders, and religious leaders.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Major General Lucky Irabor, theatre commander of Nigeria’s military campaign against the group, showed aerial footage he said was filmed during the operation in the dreaded forest that showed Boko Haram fighters moving with women and children.
“The haggard fighters were just using them as a shield,” Irabor told reporters in Maiduguri. “That is why we did not engage them from the air.”
“We had always believed and hoped that going into the Sambisa would afford us the opportunity to get the remaining Chibok girls.
“What we can’t tell is whether those women we can see were the Chibok girls,” Irabor said, assuring that the military was pursuing those who fled.
Between December 21 and 28, according to him, 1,240 people suspected to be militants, their relatives or sympathisers were arrested.