Jonathan Didn’t Allow Us Rescue Chibok Girls – Cameron

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David Cameron

LAGOS – David Cameron, former British prime minister, has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of not giving enough support to Britain to assist in rescuing the 274 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State by the Boko Haram insurgents, an online platform, TheCable has reported.

But President Jonathan has dismissed the claim as tissue of lies, saying, “How could I write to appeal for help and then reject the very thing I appealed for?”

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.

“In early 2014, a group of its fighters centered 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.”

  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”.

In a swift response to the allegations, Jonathan in a statement, which he titled, “My Response To David Cameron’s Claims”, and personally signed by him, Jonathan maintained that everything Cameron said never occurred.

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According to him, “It is quite sad that Mr. Cameron would say this because nothing of such ever occurred. As President of Nigeria, I not only wrote letters to then Prime Minister David Cameron, I also wrote to the then US President, Barrack Obama, and the then French President, François Hollande, as well as the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealing to them for help in rescuing the Chibok Girls.

“How could I write to appeal for help and then reject the very thing I appealed for?

“Also, history contradicts Mr. Cameron. On March 8, 2012, when the same Boko Haram linked terrorists abducted a British expatriate named Chris McManus, along with an Italian hostage Franco Lamolinara, in Sokoto, I, as Nigerian President, personally authorised a rescue effort by members of the British military Special Boat Service supported by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, to free the abducted men.

“So, having set a precedent like that, why would I reject British help in rescuing the Chibok Girls, if it was offered?

“I also authorised the secret deployment of troops from the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel as a result of the Chibok incident, so how Mr. Cameron could say this with a straight face beats me,” part of the statement read.

The former president, however, accused Cameron of failing to mention that he (Jonathan) wrote him requesting his help on Chibok. “Why did he suppress that information? I remind him that copies of that letter exist at the State Houses in Nigeria and London. He never called me on the phone to offer any help. On the contrary, I am the one that reached out to him,” he added.

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Source: independent.ng