President Muhammadu Buhari has made it clear that his administration will not succumb to blackmail by bandits, Boko Haram and other criminals who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.
He declared, in a statement today, February 27, reacting to the kidnapping of 317 schoolgirls in Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State:: “no criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government. The only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.
“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits.
“Our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed. A hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors.”
President Buhari warned bandits and other criminals not to entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government.
“They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.”