In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, a UK Newspaper, former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andrew Pocock, says that 80 of the Government Girls College Students who were abducted by Boko Haram members in April 2014, were spotted in Sambisa forest by a team of British and American surveillance but they could not rescue them as the Nigerian government made no request for help.
“A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American ‘eye in the sky’ spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa forest, around a very large tree — called locally the Tree of Life — along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment. They were there for perhaps up to four weeks, and the question was what to do about them. Answer came there none.”
He said despite all the BBOG campaigns in London and the White House, the British and American troops could not immediately go in to rescue the girls because the Nigerians never asked for that
“What’s more,” Pocock says, “the Nigerians never asked for that.”
He however pointed out that if the Nigerian government had even asked for help, he said the safety of the girls would have been of utmost priority as it would have been very risky to go in and carryout any rescue operation
“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed. An air-based rescue would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more to the girls. You might have rescued a few, but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment. 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? It’s perfectly conceivable that Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, would have appeared on one of his videos a week later, saying, ‘Who told you that you could try and free these girls? Let me show you what I’ve done to them…’ So you were damned if you did, damned if you didn’t. They were beyond rescue, in practical terms.”he said.