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Chibok girls are alive, will be rescued, says Jonathan


PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday raised hopes that Chibok Secondary School girls who have been in Boko Haram captivity for nearly a year are still alive and will be rescued.

Appearing on an African Independent Television (AIT) live discussion programme Kaakaki in Abuja, he assured that the school girls have not been killed by their captors who would have been too happy to display their corpses for propaganda purposes.

He regretted that even though the military were recording a lot of successes in the war against terror, Boko Haram terrorist activities have festered because they were underestimated in the beginning as it started as a non-violent group which later grew in capacity.

However, he was confident that with the the military now having 65 per cent of the platform needed to prosecute the war, the remaining territories still in the hands of the insurgents would soon be liberated.

The president particularly noted that the territories yet to be recovered from the terrorists in Adamawa and Yobe states were likely to be recaptured in the next few days.

On why the Chibok girls have not been found in spite of the military successes, he said: “we still have reasonable territories in the hands of Boko Haram. 

“We promised that we must get the girls. The good story is that they have not killed them because the terrorists, when they kill, they display. They use it to intimidate the whole society. They girls are alive. We will get the girls. Luckily, we are narrowing down the area of their control. So, we will get them.”

Jonathan explained that the military had been reluctant to move in with full force because of the tendency of terrorists to use captives as human shield, saying, “that is why the pace had to be slow.”

Asked why it took so long for military successes to come against Boko Haram, he replied: “yes, agreed that at the beginning, probably we did not really (correctly) estimate the capacity of Boko Haram. It is obvious. Boko Haram started as a non-violence group led by Yusuf, limited to around Maiduguri area, Yobe. They did not even get to Adamawa.

“Just like every group of youths or young people is inclined to criminality, over the period, they expanded their network and linked up with other terrorist organizations like in the North Africa like Al-Qaeda and other similar brands in the world.

“So, they continued to build their capacity and it got to point to know that for you to tackle them in the kind of environment they operate, you need some specialized equipment to use and we don’t manufacture these equipment now.”

He said the government encountered some difficulties at the beginning getting the necessary weapons from other countries, adding however that about 65 percent of the weapons was now available to prosecute the war.

“That is why the movement has changed. So, it is not deliberate,” he said.

The president remarked that efforts were ongoing to mop up areas that have already been liberated to ensure that Boko Haram did not relaunch attacks on them in order to enable the Internal Displaced People (IDPs) to return to their homes.

He expressed delight that the mopping up exercises have succeeded so far because there were no new reports of terrorist seizing territories, especially with the collaboration of neighboring countries’ armies which has blocked escape routes.

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