Global rights watchdog, Amnesty international, on Tuesday accused the Nigerian military and police of fleeing Dapchi in Yobe State upon getting information that Boko Haram insurgents were heading to the sleepy town.
The watchdog said in a statement by its Director, Osi Ojighor, that the terrorists arrived Dapchi around 6.30pm and remained for one hour.
During the period, in which Boko Haram kidnapped 110 pupils of Government Girls Science Technical College Dapchi, calls were mad to the military in the Yobe State capital, Damaturu, and the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, but soldiers failed to turn up.
They only arrived one hour after the insurgents had left with the girls.
It said: “Evidence available to Amnesty International suggests that there are insufficient troops deployed in the area, and that an absence of patrols and the failure to respond to warnings and engage with Boko Haram contributed to this tragedy,” Osai Ojigho, AI director in Nigeria, said in a statement.
“The sighting of an armed convoy at Futchimiram immediately sparked several phone calls to alert authorities. Sources who informed the military commander in Geidam at 2pm report that he responded to them by saying he was aware of the situation and was monitoring it.
“At around 3pm, the convoy arrived in Gumsa, where they remained till 5pm. People in Gumsa called Dapchi villagers to warn them that Boko Haram fighters were on their way. One villager who received such a call said he informed a police sergeant who promised to notify the Dapchi division police officer (DPO).
“At around 6:30pm, when residents were heading to the mosque for evening prayers, Boko Haram members entered Dapchi. Witnesses said Boko Haram fighters asked for directions to the military post, the local government office and the girls’ school.
“A police source in Dapchi told Amnesty International that officers fled because they feared that the Boko Haram fighters would overpower them.”