Nigeria’s defence minister, Mansur Ali on Tuesday warned that it may take years to find all the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014.
276 students from a government school in the north-eastern town of Chibok, Borno State were kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014.
81 girls have so far been rescued while about 195 are still missing.
Mr. Ali a retired brigadier general said that the military is committed to finding the girls and is searching Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa forest, a vast area covering parts of three states in north-eastern Nigeria, Premium Times reports.
Mr. Ali compared the inability to find the girls despite retaking most if the territory initially occupied by Boko Haram to the U.S. efforts to find Osama bin Laden after the invasion of Afghanistan
“It took the U.S. up to seven, eight, up to 10 years before they could get to bin Laden,” he said. “We are continuing our campaign in the Sambisa Forest in all its nooks and corners.” The reports quotes Ali say.
Mr. Ali spoke to VOA as activists marked the third anniversary of the girls’ abductions demanding more from the federal government to free the girls.
Speaking at the VOA programme, an Islamic cleric, Nuru Khalid, a member of the influential interfaith group that tries to ensure peace between Nigerian Muslims and Christians, said failure to find the girls would translate into a victory for Boko Haram.
“We can never allow the terrorists to win the war. If they got [away] free with those girls, then they have relatively won the war,” he said.
President Buhari in his statement to mark the three years abduction of the Chibok girls pledged that his administration will do everything possible to ensure the freedom of the girls.