A report by the Guardian UK claims former President Goodluck Jonathan refused offer by the British armed forces to attempt to rescue the Chibok Girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.
The guardian.com report claims the Royal Air Force, on a mission named Operation Turus, conduct air recce over northern Nigeria for several months after the girls were taken in April 2014.
“The girls were located in the first few weeks of the RAF mission,” a source involved in Operation Turus told the Observer. “We offered to rescue them, but the Nigerian government declined.”
The girls were then tracked by the aircraft as they were dispersed into progressively smaller groups over the following months, the source added, according to the report.
The report said the publication used Freedom of Information Act to obtain notes from meetings between British and Nigerian officials, suggesting Nigeria welcomed international assistance in looking for the girls but viewed any action against the kidnapping as a national issue.
It quotes Jonathan, during a meeting on 15 May 2014 with UK’s former Africa minister Mark Simmonds, as having said, “Nigeria’s intelligence and military services must solve the ultimate problem.”
A document summarising a meeting in Abuja in September 2014 between Nigeria’s national security adviser and James Duddridge MP, former under-secretary of state at the Foreign Office, shows Operation Turus had advanced to the point where rescue options were being discussed.
Minutes from a meeting the following month between Major-General James Chiswell and Jonathan hinted at the frustration felt by those trying to prompt some action from Nigeria, the report claimed.