Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has said there is the likelihood that the over 200 female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok abducted by the Boko Haram fighters on April 14, 2014 may be held in bunkers in Sambisa Forest.
He therefore called on the military to go after the Boko Haram Islamic insurgents and liberate the girls.
Shettima claimed that the insurgents had killed over 300,000 people in the North-East, with his state recording 70,000 out of the figure.
He said that the 13,000 figure being reported in the media as the number of lives lost to insurgency in the North-East was therefore a far cry.
The governor spoke on Tuesday evening while presenting a paper entitled, “Holistic approach for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the North-East ravaged by terrorism and insurgency: The national and international policy options/perspectives,” in Abuja.
The event was a two-day post-election conference on security and governance organised by the Savanna Centre, a non-governmental organisation established by a former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
Shettima, who was represented at the event by the Secretary, Borno Elders’ Forum, Bulama Mala Gubio, said he believed the Boko Haram fighters had bunkers that were large enough to accommodate many people.
He said, “We are suspecting that Chibok girls are living with the insurgents in bunkers. I think the military must carry out their operations beyond the earth surface. They (Boko Haram fighters) are also known to have dug tunnels to enable them to move from house to house.
“So, having been left unchallenged for such a long time, such possibilities cannot be ruled out which poses serious obstacles within the forest.
“The insurgents use their bases in the Sambisa Forest to launch deadly attacks and make quick retreat to their base which enables them to capture and take over control of all the LGAs bordering Nigeria with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, thus effectively cutting off the three countries, thereby declaring what they assumed was their independent territory (caliphate).”