Did Nigeria have four-hour warning prior to Boko Haram abduction?

posted at 12:01 pm on May 9, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Did Nigeria’s military fail to act prior to the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls last month? That claim comes from an investigation by Amnesty International, in which they assert that a regional military headquarters simply failed to mobilize in time to prevent the terrorist attack:

“Damning testimonies gathered by Amnesty International reveal that Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings about Boko Haram’s armed raid on the state-run boarding school in Chibok which led to the abduction,” the rights group said.

Amnesty said it had verified the information about the abduction with “credible sources”.

“Amnesty International has confirmed… that Nigeria’s military headquarters in Maiduguri was aware of the impending attack soon after 7:00 PM (1800 GMT) on 14 April, close to four hours before Boko Haram began their assault on the town,” the group said.

The military however could not assemble the troops needed to suppress the attack, “due to poor resources and a reported fear of engaging with the often better-equipped” Islamists, according to Amnesty.

A half-dozen American military advisers arrived in Nigeria today to bolster those capabilities, at least in theory. They will join other US and British officials in attempted to track and find the hostages, but that won’t include American boots on the ground:

The advisers will join a team of U.S. and British officials already in Nigeria, helping find the girls, planning rescue efforts and devising strategies to help subdue the terror group Boko Haram, which abducted the girls April 14 from a government boarding school.

About 60 U.S. officials have been on the ground since before the kidnappings as part of counterterrorism efforts with Nigeria, a senior U.S. administration official told CNN. They have been holding meetings, getting resources into the country and making assessments with local authorities.

“Our interagency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now, and they are going to be working … with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.

Their tasks include establishing a coordination cell to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise.

There are no plans to send American combat troops, according to U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, who serves as Pentagon press secretary.

That’s a cautious but probably wise choice, under the circumstances of the wider security issues in the region for the US and NATO. However, it won’t solve the problem of the lack of Nigerian forces or power to deal with Boko Haram on the ground. It raises the question again about why the US didn’t take steps earlier to list Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) despite years of requests from the military — specifically AFRICOM — the CIA, and the FBI and Department of Justice.

Yesterday, the Weekly Standard’s Jeryl Bier revealed that the same question was being asked within the State Department nearly two years ago, at the embassy in Lagos:

On September 20, 2012, then Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson appeared on a State Department “Live at State” webchat regarding “U.S. Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.”  Questions from journalists and other individuals via webchat were posed to Carson by the host, Holly Jensen. At one point, a question was asked by the “U.S. Consulate in Lagos [Nigeria]“:

MS. JENSEN: The U.S. Consulate in Lagos wants to know: Why is the government reluctant to designate the Boko Haram sect as a foreign terrorist organization?

AMBASSADOR CARSON: Thank you very much. We look at the issue of Boko Haram as a major concern not only to Nigeria but also to Nigeria’s neighbors and Niger and Cameroon and Benin as well. Boko Haram, we believe, is not a homogenous, monolithic organization, but it is comprised of several different kinds of groups.

Carson went on to note that while the organization itself was not designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, three individuals within Boko Haram were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists in June 2012:

We have, indeed, recently designated three individuals in Boko Haram as individuals who are involved in terrorism, and we have done so because we believe those three individuals have established contacts with foreign terrorist organizations, have gone out and sought to get financing from foreign terrorist organizations, and have tried to establish broader networks and relationships with them.

Bear in mind that this question came after a long string of terrorist attacks in Nigeria, many of them aimed specifically at the Christians within the country. Had we listed them as an FTO in 2011 when nearly every sector of the American national-security community demanded it, the financial and intelligence operations enabled by that step may have helped reduce Boko Haram’s capabilities by now … or maybe not. We will never know, though, and now the entire international community has to play catch-up. That sounds a little like the accusation coming from Amnesty International against Nigeria today.


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On September 20, 2012, then Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson

ROFL

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Lt. Col. Peters on Faux “these are the illiterate version of AlQauida…and obama/Hillary gave them a break” — paraphrased.

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2014 at 12:04 PM

obama and Hillary didn’t classify these wild raggers as terrorists in order to not further the myth that obama killed osama, with his bare hands, and eliminated terrorism.

Thus, we have no right to fly drones over Nigeria and etc.

Add to that, the funds from the US kept flowing into the rich pockets of a few Nigerians, while their military is the worst, in spite of our billions, sent to build them up.

Add to that the fact that Nigeria is the real toilet of Africa, in spite of all the development in the other African lands.

Schadenfreude on May 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Instead of waiting to assemble a strike force to secure the school, couldn’t the military have just called the school and warned of the attack? All of those girls could have been moved to multiple alternate locations before the attack began.

HakerA on May 9, 2014 at 12:07 PM

And it’s considered the most power country in Africa.

Oil Can on May 9, 2014 at 12:09 PM

At least Obama has another “squirrel” to occupy the “folks.”

sandee on May 9, 2014 at 12:12 PM

ROFL

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Well, this President is a joke.

Oil Can on May 9, 2014 at 12:13 PM

On September 20, 2012, then Bureau of African Affairs Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson

ROFL

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Was Jay Carnac there?

VegasRick on May 9, 2014 at 12:13 PM

However, it won’t solve the problem of the lack of Nigerian forces or power to deal with Boko Haram on the ground. It raises the question again about why the US didn’t take steps earlier to list Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) despite years of requests from the military — specifically AFRICOM — the CIA, and the FBI and Department of Justice.

No it doesn’t.

It’s not America’s job to stop Boko Haram.

And nobody fighting Boko Haram should have to look over their shoulder and wonder if America is going to step in and tell them they are going too far.

America should just butt out of most of the world’s problems, and tell all the locals (especially rich Europeans):

You take care of it, if you think it’s a problem. We’re not stopping you from dealing with it. Don’t blame us.

David Blue on May 9, 2014 at 12:16 PM

It raises the question again about why the US didn’t take steps earlier to list Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) despite years of requests from the military — specifically AFRICOM — the CIA, and the FBI and Department of Justice.

Don’t you know anything? There was no need because Al Qaeda was on the run, and all other terrorists (except for the domestic variety) had succumbed to President Soetoro’s charms.

Anything to the contrary in the public mind would only obscure his wonderness.

Akzed on May 9, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Assuming that working inside the country is the military’s role and not that of a policing agency or other civil authority, then it is a bit of a lapse in security. Also there is the military having the mobility to actually respond in an orderly fashion and not show up and make the situation worse.

Why the lack of conduct with civil authorities is a main one. Civil government has the responsibility for local affairs, so why were they not contacted? That is a primary concern, I should think. Actually getting to the military doing something in a timely, orderly fashion is way down the list, a list which starts with contacting local authorities. If THAT is the problem, then the Nigerian military is incompetent, incapable or both.

As to why BH was not named a FTO: why that might anger the islamic street, donchyaknow? Blowback! Can’t call a terrorist organization a terrorist organization just because they are one… they are our future frenemies! Don’t want to tick them off by saying they are terrorists when only white Christians are terrorists, what with their War on Women and all…

ajacksonian on May 9, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Why is this even in the News here in America? Is America now the Worlds official police force? Should American send it’s military to arrest Boko haram?

Do we not have important and pressing issues of our own to pay attention to? Are you all so easily distracted, manipulated, deceived? The little man says, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, and you instantly look away at whatever shiny object he flashes at you? Don’t be Evil for God’s sake.

oscarwilde on May 9, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Do we not have important and pressing issues of our own to pay attention to? Are you all so easily distracted, manipulated, deceived?

oscarwilde on May 9, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Yes, no, not sure.

Anything else?

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Did they check their twitter feed?

gwelf on May 9, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Did Nigeria have four-hour warning prior to Boko Haram abduction?

What difference, at this point, does it make?

Happy Nomad on May 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I’m confused… the hashtag didn’t work?

redzap on May 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Anything else?

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Umm, were you fixing to drink all that beer by yourself?

oscarwilde on May 9, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Had we listed them as an FTO in 2011 when nearly every sector of the American national-security community demanded it, the financial and intelligence operations enabled by that step may have helped reduce Boko Haram’s capabilities by now … or maybe not. We will never know, though, and now the entire international community has to play catch-up. That sounds a little like the accusation coming from Amnesty International against Nigeria today.

Dude, that was three years ago.

rbj on May 9, 2014 at 12:29 PM

A well-equipped, well-trained, private force could probably significantly reduce the threat of Boko Haram. I wonder which folks out there might have enough money to hire and equip one?

GWB on May 9, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Did they check their twitter feed?

gwelf on May 9, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Probably not. The Boko Haram critters would be turning themselves in if they were aware that the Oprah and Mooch are out there hashtagging them.

Happy Nomad on May 9, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Did Nigeria have four-hour warning prior to Boko Haram abduction?

Too bad Obama’s hashtags weren’t sent into deal with BH.

Mark Boabaca on May 9, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Simple answer: they had more than a few hours. They’ve had years of warnings as the boldness of Boko escalated. The government is simply waiting for someone else to do the dirty work of wiping them out.

You can also blame Hillary Clinton (again) and our President for the more dangerous situation we face in the world today. They refused to proclaim Boko a terrorist organization even as they carried out other despicable acts and increase their links to AQ.

All to falsely proclaim that terrorism was on the decline. Ask the people of Nigeria if that’s true.

By the way, don’t forget that September 11th was proceeded by events in Africa.

Marcus Traianus on May 9, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Umm, were you fixing to drink all that beer by yourself?

oscarwilde on May 9, 2014 at 12:28 PM

I’m sorry…I was distracted by something shiny out on the lake, what were we talking about again?

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

OT

Rs named to the Benghazi select committee: Trey Gowdy (chair) Susan Brooks Jim Jordan Mike Pompeo Martha Roby Roskam Westmoreland

Still waiting on what Ds Pelosi is going to do.

CoffeeLover on May 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

….Smart Power!

KOOLAID2 on May 9, 2014 at 12:36 PM

oscarwilde on May 9, 2014 at 12:28 PM

I’m sorry…I was distracted by something shiny out on the lake, what were we talking about again?

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

BURRRRRPPP, Oh, I was just asking you if you wanted me to throw away all of those empty beer bottles… BURRRRRPPP….

oscarwilde on May 9, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Rs named to the Benghazi select committee: Trey Gowdy (chair) Susan Brooks Jim Jordan Mike Pompeo Martha Roby Roskam Westmoreland

Still waiting on what Ds Pelosi is going to do.

CoffeeLover on May 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Drudge has the D’s listed: Boehner, Cannon, and Flake.

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Instead of waiting to assemble a strike force to secure the school, couldn’t the military have just called the school and warned of the attack? All of those girls could have been moved to multiple alternate locations before the attack began.

HakerA on May 9, 2014 at 12:07 PM

That’s the first thing I thought of. They could have hid in the woods or something. But I guess that was too hard for the Nigerian government. Unless they are in collusion. It should have been something handled locally and nobody else would be involved including us. I don’t know what we can do even if we did have a functioning government.

crankyoldlady on May 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM

I blame Killary

John the Libertarian on May 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM

At this point, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

rjoco1 on May 9, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Wouldn’t surprise me if State is funding them.

BL@KBIRD on May 9, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Nigeria is one of the world’s most corrupt nations. The government is not really concerned what happens in Borno and Goodluck’s wife stated as much after the attack. Delta tribes wanting some of the petrodollars under their feet… you would see a coherent rapid response.

lexhamfox on May 9, 2014 at 12:49 PM

No one cared when they were only killing Christians.

alanstern on May 9, 2014 at 12:50 PM

No worries, the UN is on the case.
//////

Murphy9 on May 9, 2014 at 12:53 PM

French UN peacekeepers are being sent to find the girls, so their choice will be rape by Boko or rape by UN troops.

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Nigeria is one of the world’s most corrupt nations. The government is not really concerned what happens in Borno and Goodluck’s wife stated as much after the attack. Delta tribes wanting some of the petrodollars under their feet… you would see a coherent rapid response.

lexhamfox on May 9, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Plus, the girls are only worth twelve dollats each. Hardly worth the trouble to save them.

butch on May 9, 2014 at 1:03 PM

To: Good_Person@HotAir.com

From: HisMostRoyaExelentcy_PrinceAbdeliObolongdada

Dearest Most Good Person,

Our most exelent country now has the great sorrow. The daughters of the land taken from us are. A ransom greater than a Prince Abdeli can make must be paid. AKing ransom to be making. Royal Nigeria monies are held in your country. We would pay to you gladly a percent of these monies in the transfer assistance to Nigeria. Money orders for negotiating …

M240H on May 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM

French UN peacekeepers are being sent to find the girls, so their choice will be rape by Boko or rape by UN troops.

Bishop on May 9, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Totally disgusting, but true.

The UN does Lucifer’s work topside.

Murphy9 on May 9, 2014 at 1:11 PM

This is the kind of stuff we have learned to expect from Islamic third world countries. It is all fifth century stuff.

I am sure that Obama will blame the kidnapping on climate change. That’s seems to be the extent of reasoning in our enlightened government.

koolbob on May 9, 2014 at 1:56 PM

GWB on May 9, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Doesn’t the BLM have some time on their hands waiting to decide whether to invade the Bundy “compound” again?

opaobie on May 9, 2014 at 1:57 PM

These barbarians need a size xxx drone.

jaywemm on May 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM

We’ve spent more time and money looking for MH370 then we have investigating Lois Lerner and I’d rather we find those girls and bring them back to their parents then paying another cent for that episode. I do think the regime is getting closer to tossing her under the bus, tho.

Kissmygrits on May 9, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Just tweet about it. I’m sure that will help.

Galtian on May 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

If those celebs want to do something other than take selfies try what this gut suggests

http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/05/08/operation-pouty-face/

warren on May 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM

About 60 U.S. officials have been on the ground since before the kidnappings as part of counterterrorism efforts with Nigeria, a senior U.S. administration official told CNN. They have been holding meetings, getting resources into the country and making assessments with local authorities.

.
60 U.S. officials? Are they wearing suits or body armor?

ExpressoBold on May 9, 2014 at 2:37 PM

60 U.S. officials? Are they wearing suits or body armor?

ExpressoBold on May 9, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Whether it’s suits or body armor, in sub-Saharan Africa there also wearing multiple inoculation welts on both shoulders and buttcheeks, enough DEET to paint your car, and -if they’re Secret Service- three condoms apiece.

M240H on May 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I’m confused… the hashtag didn’t work?

redzap on May 9, 2014 at 12:27 PM

We must work on developing an intercontinental hashtag.

Ward Cleaver on May 9, 2014 at 2:54 PM

If those celebs want to do something other than take selfies try what this guy suggests

http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/05/08/operation-pouty-face/

warren on May 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM

He’s dead-on:

But if your selective outrage is really up in arms about this one, movie stars with the hash tag, I’ve got a simple solution for you. Take some of your millions of dollars and hire some mercenaries to go into Africa to shoot all the members of Boko Haram. I wonder how that would trend on Twitter. #gurkhaskillscumbags

Ward Cleaver on May 9, 2014 at 2:59 PM

If islamist terrorists Boko Haram had taken 300BOYS, BathHouse Barry would NUKE ‘EM – for girls he “fights” them w/twitter hashtag.

Hey d-cRATs: How many girls taken by islamist terrorists Boko Haram is your pervert Sen. menendez planning to buy?

MicahStone on May 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Doesn’t the BLM have some time on their hands waiting to decide whether to invade the Bundy “compound” again?

opaobie on May 9, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Those aren’t exactly private citizens.

GWB on May 9, 2014 at 5:35 PM

In the interest of accuracy- Lagos is a US Consulate General. The US Embassy is in Abuja.

guinneach on May 9, 2014 at 6:05 PM