- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2014

Investigators at Amnesty International announced Friday that security forces in Nigeria received warnings of a Boko Haram raid before hundreds of school girls were kidnapped.

After reviewing information based on multiple interviews with credible sources, the organization revealed that Nigerian security forces chose not to act on advanced warnings received four hours before 240 girls were abducted in an armed raid on April 14-15.

“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,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa director of Research and Advocacy.

“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.”

Amnesty International’s statement said the organization confirmed that Nigeria’s military headquarters in Maiduguri had been informed of an impending attack around 7 p.m. April 14. The military command in Damboa, 36.5 km (22.68 miles) away from Chibok, where the girls were abducted from a boarding school, had also received multiple alerts.

A lack of resources and reported fear of engaging with the armed terrorist group prevented immediate deployment of troops to Chibok.

The girls remain in captivity, more than three weeks later. Several reports have surfaced alleging that some of the girls have been forced to marry their captors.

Amnesty International repeated its cry to the terrorist group to release the captured girls.

“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,” Mr. Belay said.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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