The Defence Headquarters yesterday said that the military had taken all the necessary briefs from other security agencies and the Katsina State government on the present condition of the abducted students, saying based on the latest information, the schoolboys were still with the bandits unharmed.
Addressing newsmen at Army headquarters in Abuja, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operation, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, also said the military was not part of the team negotiating with bandits and would not be.
According to him, nobody is dead among the children and the armed forces were reviewing strategies to ensure their safe returns to their parents, noting that the military would continue its on-going kinetic operations.
“The troops are on guard as it were. They have started patrolling the whole of that area, which I will not give you the specifics to ensure that they are intact and that we rescue them alive, whichever way,” Enenche said.
The DHQ spokesman stressed that negotiation with terrorists, bandits or criminal gangs was not part of the rule of engagement of the military, assuring that the security forces would rescue the schoolboys from their abductors soon.
“I don’t know from history where the military or the armed forces go into negotiations when it comes to ransom and I don’t have any record. Nothing is connecting the armed forces with negotiation. If the governor believes in that as a father, he is seeing it in a larger perceptive.
“We are going on with our operations, and we don’t step down our kinetic operations for any reason at all. There is nowhere in the world where you stop your kinetic operation; it is a total package because purported negotiations are going on. It is not done,” he said.
Enenche, while describing as the usual propaganda of the terrorist group, however, dismissed the claim by the so-called Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, who appeared in a recent video, where he said the school children were abducted by his men.