Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan cancelled a trip to Chibok on Friday because of security concerns. Chibok is the town where more than 300 schoolgirls were abducted from a month ago. This visit by President Jonathan would have been the first time he’s visited the area since the abductions took place.
Two officials in the presidency confirmed the cancellation saying there were apparent concerns about security after news of the planned trip was leaked to the media and published on front pages of newspapers Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not supposed to give information to reporters.
Jonathan had been expected to fly on one of his presidential jets from Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, to Maiduguri, the Borno state capital in the northeast, and then be transported by military helicopter to the town of Chibok, 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the south.
The road from Maiduguri to Chibok passes by the Sambisa Forest to which the girls first were taken that is a known hideout of the insurgents and has been attacked many times. Soldiers say 12 troops were killed in an ambush on that road on Monday night. The Defense Ministry said four soldiers were killed in a firefight on the outskirts of Chibok that night.
Boko Haram abducted more than 300 students from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School. Police say 53 managed to escape and 276 remain in captivity. Instead of visiting Chibok, Jonathan is going somewhere safer, Paris, for a summit that includes the leaders of Nigeria’s four neighbors to discuss how to address the regional threat posed by Boko Haram.