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Jonathan stopped us from rescuing Chibok schoolgirls – ex-British Prime Minister Cameron

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David Cameron, former British Prime Minister, has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of not giving enough support to Britain during the abduction of 274 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state, an online platform, TheCable has reported.

It would be recalled that the abduction, which took place on April 14, 2014, sparked a global outrage following which the international community offered to assist Nigeria.

Cameron, who was in office at the time of the incident, in his memoir titled “In For The Record”, said British troops traced the location of some of the victims and offered to help but Jonathan allegedly refused.

“Iraq wasn’t the only place we would need our military to counter this extremist menace. Boko Haram in Nigeria was linked to al-Qaeda and believed Western education and lifestyles were a sin (the meaning behind its name). It too wanted to institute a caliphate, and like ISIS it would use whatever barbaric means it thought necessary,” Cameron wrote.

“Iraq wasn’t the only place we would need our military to counter this extremist menace. Boko Haram in Nigeria was linked to al-Qaeda and believed Western education and lifestyles were a sin (the meaning behind its name). It too wanted to institute a caliphate, and like ISIS it would use whatever barbaric means it thought necessary,” Cameron wrote.

“In early 2014, a group of its fighters centred the government secondary school in the village of Chibok, seizing 276 teenage girls. They were taken to camps deep in the forest. The Christians among them were forced to convert to Islam. Many were sold as slaves, entering the same endless violent nightmare the Yazidi women suffered.

“As ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign spread across the world, we embedded a team of military and intelligence experts in Nigeria, and sent spy planes and Tornadoes with thermal imaging to search for the missing girls. And, amazingly, from the skies above a forest three times the size of Wales, we managed to locate some of them.

“But Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, seemed to be asleep at the wheel. When he eventually made a statement, it was to accuse the campaigners of politicising the tragedy. And absolutely crucially, when we offered to help rescue the girls we had located, he refused.”

TheCable reported that it sent messages to Ikechukwu Eze, spokesman of Jonathan, seeking his reaction to Cameron’s claim but did not respond as of the time the report was filed.

Cameron also said the Nigerian army was unable to participate in operations the US and UK forces organised for the rescue of Chibok school girls because of “politically appointed generals”.

The ex-British prime minister also wrote on how the Archbishop of Canterbury was contacted to assist during the intervention in Nigeria.

“We had to play the long game focusing on a much bigger training effort for the Nigerian military and intelligence forces and trying to promote more energetic leaders from the younger generation. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as an expert on Nigeria, could be particularly useful on this and I invited him to join our NSC discussion,” he wrote.

“Some of the girls have managed to escape over the following four years, and others have been released, but over a hundred are still missing. Once again. the combination of Islamist extremism and bad governance proved fatal.

“How did I feel about all this at the end of 2014? The answer is, depressed. ISIS now occupied an area larger than Britain. A similar brand of terrorism was being wrought by Boko Haram in West Africa), another ISIS affiliate in north Africa, and by al-Shabab (‘the youth) in east Africa, while related groups were springing up in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Caucasus.

“There seemed to be no stopping an evil ideology that seduced minds from the badlands of Syt’tato bedrooms in Birmingham. When I spoke about the challenge publicly I tried to remain measured and resolute. But privately did asked myself, would we ever be able to defeat this thing?

A total of 112 Chibok schoolgirls have remained unaccounted for. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari secured the release of more than 100 while 57 managed to escape.

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