Borno State governor, Kassim Shettima, Tuesday, said there was every tendency that the female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect, in April 2014, were being held in bunkers, inside Sambisa Forest. To this end, he has asked the military, which is combing the forest not only to fish out members of the sect but to also liberate the over 200 girls to carry their assignment beyond surface earth.
Shettima, spoke in Abuja, while presenting a paper at a two-day post election conference on security and governance, organized by the Savanna Centre, a Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, established by former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari. The governor, who was represented at the occasion by the Secretary, Borno Elders Forum, Dr Bulama Mala Gubio, said the dreaded sect, having operated in the large expanse of the forest for so many years unchallenged, were able to build a bunker, large enough to accommodate many people in the area. “We are suspecting that Chibok girls are living with the insurgents in bunkers, I think the military must carry out their operations beyond the surface earth,” he insisted.
“They (Boko Haram) were also known to have dug tunnels to enable them move from house to house. So, having been left unchallenged for such a long time, such possibilities cannot be ruled out which poses serious obstacles within the forest, “the governor added. Speaking further, Shettima said: “The insurgents used their bases in the Sambisa Forest to launch deadly attacks and make quick retreat to their base which enabled them capture and take over control of all the local government areas bordering Nigeria with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, thus effectively cutting off the three neighbouring countries thereby declaring what they assumed was their their independent territory (caliphate).” The governor also said unless Sambisa Forest was completely and effectively rid off of the terrorists by the military, any reconstruction and rehabilitation carried out in the North East region would be exercise in futility.