Nigeria: Government Knew of Planned Boko Haram Kidnapping But Failed to Act

January 13, 2024
6 mins read

By Amnesty

Friday, May 9, 2014.

Damning testimonies gathered by Amnesty International reveal that the
Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings about Boko Haram’s
armed raid on the state-run boarding school in Chibok which led to the
abduction of more than 240 schoolgirls on 14-15 April.

After independently verifying information based on
multiple interviews with credible sources, the organisation today exclusively
revealed that the Nigerian security forces had more than four hours of advance
warning about the attack but did not do enough to stop it.

Netsanet Belay, Amnesty’s Africa Director, speaking
from Abuja, said:

“The fact that Nigerian security forces knew about
Boko Haram’s impending raid, but failed to take the immediate action needed to
stop it, will only amplify the national and international outcry at this
horrific crime.

“It amounts to a gross dereliction of Nigeria’s duty
to protect civilians, who remain sitting ducks for such attacks. The Nigerian
leadership must now use all lawful means at their disposal to secure the girls’
safe release and ensure nothing like this can happen again.

“The abduction and continued detention of these school
girls are war crimes, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Attacks
on schools also violate the right to education and must be halted immediately.”

Amnesty has confirmed through various sources that
Nigeria’s military headquarters in Maiduguri was aware of the impending attack
soon after 7pm on 14 April, close to four hours before Boko Haram began their
assault on the town.

But an inability to muster troops – due to poor
resources and a reported fear of engaging with the often better-equipped armed
groups – meant that reinforcements were not deployed to Chibok that night. The
small contingent of security forces based in the town – 17 army personnel as
well as local police –attempted to repel the Boko Haram assault but were
overpowered and forced to retreat. One soldier reportedly died.

More than three weeks later, the majority of the girls
remain in captivity in an unknown location. A climate of confusion and
suspicion has so far scuppered efforts to secure their release.

Amnesty reiterates its call on Boko Haram to
immediately and unconditionally release the hostages into safety and stop all
attacks on civilians.


Between 7pm on 14 April and 2am on 15 April, the
military commands in Damboa, 36.5 km away from Chibok, and Maiduguri, 130 km
away from Chibok, were repeatedly alerted to the threat by both security and local

According to sources interviewed by Amnesty, local
civilian patrols (known as “vigilantes”, set up by the military and local
authorities) in Gagilam, a neighbouring village, were among the first to raise
the alarm on the evening of 14 April after a large group of unidentified armed
men entered their village on motorbikes and said they were headed to Chibok.
This set off a rapid chain of phone calls to alert officials, including the
Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in Maiduguri.

One local official who was contacted by Gagilam
residents told Amnesty:

“At around 10:00 PM on 14 April, I called [several]
security officers to inform them about earlier information I had received from
the vigilantes in Gagilam village. They had told us that strange people had
arrived in their village that evening on motorbikes and they said they were
heading to Chibok. I made several other calls, including to Maiduguri. I was
promised by the security people that reinforcement were on their way.”

Another local official was contacted by herdsmen who
said that armed men had asked where the Government Girls Secondary School was
located in Chibok.

At around 11:45 PM, a convoy reportedly numbering up
to 200 armed Boko Haram fighters – on motorbikes and in trucks – arrived in
Chibok town and engaged in a gunfight with a small number of police and
soldiers based there. Outnumbered and outgunned, the security forces eventually
fled in the small hours of 15 April. Some of the Boko Haram fighters proceeded to
the Government Girls Secondary School and abducted more than 240 schoolgirls.

Two senior officers in Nigeria’s armed forces
confirmed that the military was aware of the planned attack even prior to the
calls received from local officials. One officer said the commander was unable
to mobilize reinforcements. He described to Amnesty the difficulties faced by
frontline soldiers in north-eastern Nigeria:

“There’s a lot of frustration, exhaustion and
fatigue among officers and [troops] based in the hotspots…many soldiers are
afraid to go to the battle fronts.”

Amnesty’s requests for a reaction from the military
headquarters in Abuja have gone unanswered.

Since the 14 April raid, a climate of confusion and
suspicion appears to have slowed down the Nigerian authorities’ efforts to
locate and free the abducted schoolgirls. On 16 April, a senior Defence
Ministry spokesperson said that almost all of the abducted girls had been
rescued and only eight were still missing. The next day he had to retract that

Netsanet Belay added:

“The climate of suspicion and lack of transparency
about the rescue effort has been unhelpful – all authorities must work together
to ensure the girls are brought home safely and more must be done to protect
civilians in future.”

Amnesty is calling on the Nigerian government to
provide adequate information to families of abducted girls on the authorities’
current efforts to ensure their safe release. The families – and the abducted
girls, once they are freed – must be provided with adequate medical and
psychological support.


The information on the advance warnings of the
impending Boko Haram attack in Chibok came from multiple sources, including
local officials and two senior military officers, interviewed by Amnesty. The
sources independently verified a list of Nigerian officials who were alerted on
14-15 April, before and during the raid on the Government Girls Secondary
School. They have been kept anonymous for their safety.

The abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok comes amid
months of worsening violence and serious human rights violations and abuses
being committed by armed Islamist groups and Nigerian government forces alike
in the conflict in north-eastern Nigeria.

Amnesty’s research indicates that at least 2,000
people have been killed in the conflict in Nigeria this year alone.

In a separate incident on 5 May, at least eight girls
were abducted by gunmen in the Warabe and Wala communities in north-eastern
Nigeria. There have been similar abductions on a smaller scale, mainly of women
and girls, in the last two years.

Also on 5 May, more than 200 people were killed in
Gamboru, Ngala, Borno state, when an armed group traveling in two armoured cars
opened fire on a market in broad daylight. The attack began around 1:30pm and
lasted several hours, and the armed group torched market stalls, vehicles and
nearby homes and shops.

Despite such ongoing attacks, the Nigerian authorities
have failed to adequately investigate the killings and abductions, bring
suspected perpetrators to justice, or prevent further attacks.

At the same time, the government continues to
unlawfully detain hundreds of people suspected of links with Boko Haram in
military detention and is denying them access to lawyers. The majority of those
detained around the country are held without criminal charges, and many have
been extrajudicially executed by security forces before facing trial.

Nigeria: Government Knew of Planned Boko Haram Kidnapping But Failed to Act

No Comments currently posted | Add Comment

Comment on this Article

Your Name

Please provide your name


Your Comment

//set data for hoidden fields
var viewMode = 1 ;
//HTML Editor Scripts follow
function exCom(target,CommandID,status,value)

function transfer()
var HTMLcnt = document.getElementById(“ctl00_MainContent_txtComment_msgDiv1”).innerHTML;
var cnt = document.getElementById(“ctl00_MainContent_txtComment_msgDiv1”).innerText;
var HTMLtarget = document.getElementById(“ctl00_MainContent_txtComment_HTMLtxtMsg”)
var target = document.getElementById(“ctl00_MainContent_txtComment_txtMsg”)

HTMLtarget.value = HTMLcnt;
target.value = cnt;

function hidePDIECLayers(f,p)
// = ‘none’ = ‘none’ = ‘none’

function toggle(e)
if ( == “none”)
{ = “”;
{ = “none”;

function ToggleView()
var msgDiv = document.getElementById(“ctl00_MainContent_txtComment_msgDiv1″);
if(viewMode == 1)
iHTML = msgDiv.innerHTML;
msgDiv.innerText = iHTML;
// Hide all controls = ‘none’;
// = ‘none’;
// = ‘none’;

viewMode = 2; // Code
iText = msgDiv.innerText;
msgDiv.innerHTML = iText;

// Show all controls = ‘inline’;
// = ‘inline’;
// = ‘inline’;

viewMode = 1; // WYSIWYG
function selOn(ctrl)
{ = ‘#000000’; = ‘#ffffcc’; = ‘hand’;

function selOff(ctrl)
{ = ‘#9BC1DF’; = ”;

function selDown(ctrl)
{ = ‘#8492B5’;

function selUp(ctrl)
{ = ‘#B5BED6’;


Size 1

Size 2

Size 3

Size 4

Size 5

Size 6

Size 7

//give focus to the msgdiv… always otherwise save button will not save content.
var mDiv = document.getElementById(“ctl00_MainContent_txtComment_msgDiv1”);
{ mDiv.focus();}
//if ( <> ‘none’)

  Send to a friend  |

View/Hide Comments (0)   |


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Black British Churches Back Legislation to Outlaw Modern Day Slavery

Next Story

London Church Hosts Breast Cancer Awareness Event Highlighting How Early Diagnosis Saves Lives

Latest from Blog

A virgin’s quest

A Short Story by Bunmi Fatoye-Matory Wednesday, May 22, 2024.   Somewhere in Rọ́lákẹ́’s childhood, she learned about Mercedes Benz, but not