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Withdrawal of troops caused Dapchi girls abduction – Governor

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By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

But for the sudden withdrawal of troops from Dapchi the abduction of over 105 school girls by Boko Haram insurgents would not have been possible, Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, has lamented.

According to information the troops were pulled out of Dapchi a week before the insurgents raided the school and disappeared with their victims.

Hassana Mohammed, 13, who scaled a fence to escape an alleged Boko Haram attack on her Government Girls Science and Technical College, stands outside her home in Dapchi, Nigeria, on February 22, 2018.
Anger erupted in a town in remote northeast Nigeria on February 22 after officials fumbled to account for scores of schoolgirls from the college who locals say have been kidnapped by Boko Haram jihadists. Police said on February 21 that 111 girls from the college were unaccounted for following a jihadist raid late on February 19. Hours later, Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe state governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said “some of the girls” had been rescued by troops “from the terrorists who abducted them”. But on a visit to Dapchi on Thursday, Gaidam appeared to question whether there had been any abduction. / AFP PHOTO /

Mr. Gaidam said this when he hosted the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, who was in Damaturu on a sympathy visit.

Haidas said, “I blame the whole attack on Dapchi on the military and the defence headquarters which withdrew troops from Dapchi. The attack occurred barely a week after the military withdrew the soldiers from there,” the Yobe governor said.

“Before then, Dapchi has been peaceful, there was never such incident. But just a week after they withdrew the troops, Boko Haram came to attack the town.

The governor regretted that the absence of the soldiers in the troubled area was not the first, recalling the earlier attack in 2013 on a science secondary school in Buni-Yadi shortly after the military removed soldiers guarding the town. At least 29 students were killed in that attack.

“Let me be quoted anywhere, the military must take blame for the attack on Dapchi. The same thing happened in 2013 when the military suddenly removed troops guarding the town and a week later Boko Haram went there to attack the town and the secondary school there killing 29 students.”

The comment by the governor coincided with the despatch of a second presidential team by President Muhammadu Buhari to the state to get first hand information on the kidnap of the girls, which has seriously embarrassed his administration.

The presidential emissary comprised the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of Interior, Lt. – Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd).

The Minister said the delegation would meet with state government officials, and Principal of the school to know the update on the missing school girls. He recalled that it was the second time in four days that a Federal Government delegation would visit Yobe over the issue of the missing Dapchi girls.

The Yobe State Government recently said it has spent N15.8 billion in the last three years on fighting the Boko Haram insurgency. Most of the expenditure are in form of support for the military, the state said.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Shettima who was in Damaturu on behalf of the Northern Governors’ Forum which he heads, expressed his sympathy to the government and people of Yobe State over the “unfortunate incident”.

“On behalf of the 19 Northern Governors’ forum, we have come to show our sympathy and let you know that we are with you in this traumatic period,” he said.

Mr. Shettima called on the security agencies to ensure the abducted girls are rescued on time.

Over 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped last Monday by the terrorists when they attacked the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi.

The federal government is yet to acknowledge the exact number of girls kidnapped by the terrorists. Parents of the girls, however, released 105 names of missing girls believed to have been abducted by the terrorists.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and that of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, are currently in Yobe as part of efforts to review the situation.

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