Speaking with The Sunday Times
, former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock, has revealed that a large group of the missing Chibok schoolgirls were spotted by British and American surveillance officials shortly after their abduction by Boko Haram insurgents, but felt powerless to rescue them.
He disclosed that the Western governments felt powerless to help as any rescue attempt would have been too high risky, with Boko Haram terrorists using the girls as human shields.
Dr. Pocock said: “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.”
According to him, the girls were there for at least four weeks but authorities were ‘powerless’ to intervene and the Nigerian government did not ask for help anyway.
He said: “A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed, an air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so 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? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
In an investigation by Christina Lamb for the Sunday Times Magazine, Dr Pocock said the information was passed to the Nigerians but they made no request for help. The magazine has also seen brutal rape videos which show schoolgirls are being used as sex slaves by the terrorists.
Ms Lamb reports: “They film schoolgirls being raped over and over again until their scream become silent.”
Some of the girls, who managed to escape, told Ms Lamb they were kept in ‘women’s prisons’ where they were taught about Islam. Boko Haram fighters would visit and pick their wives. The girls were powerless to resist as even then the men would be heavily armed. They were shown videos of people being raped, tortured and killed as a threat of what would happen to them if they tried to run away.
A former canon at Coventry Cathedral, Dr Stephen Davis, who has spent several years attempting to negotiate with the terror group, said Boko Haram ‘make ISIS look like playtime’ and said it is ‘beyond belief’ that the authorities both in Nigeria and the West do not know where the schoolgirls are.
He insists the locations of the camps where the girls were being kept were well known and could even be seen on Google maps. He added: “How many girls have to be raped and abducted before the West will do anything?”