Nigeria’s defense chief has claimed that he knows the whereabouts of nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists six weeks ago, but says the troops cannot go in with force to free them.
Air Marshal Alex Badeh told demonstrators supporting the country’s much criticized military on Monday that Nigerian troops can save the girls, Associated Press reported. But “we can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back,” he said.
“We want our girls back. I can tell you we can do it. Our military can do it. But where they are held, can we go with force?” Badeh asked the crowd. “If we go with force what will happen?”
Asked by reporters where they had found the girls, Badeh refused to elaborate.
A senior US defense official told Fox News that the reports cannot be independently confirmed.
Nigeria’s military and government have faced national and international outrage over their failure to rescue the girls seized by Boko Haram militants from a remote northeastern school in April.
President Goodluck Jonathan was forced this month to accept international help. American planes have been searching for the girls and Britain, France, Israel and other countries have sent experts in surveillance and hostage negotiation.
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