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Nigeria's defense chief said on Monday that the military knows the location of the school girls abducted by the Boko Haram, but said that force won't be used in their rescue.
Air Marshal Alex Badeh spoke before demonstrators, many of whom came to the Defense Ministry by bus, leading many to believe that the event was organized in support of the widely criticized military, reports The Associated Press.
He explained that while they knew where the roughly 300 school girls were located it would be unwise to try and take them back by force. Speaking to the thousands at the headquarters he asked, "We want our girls back. I can tell you we can do it. Our military can do it. But where they are held, can we go with force?" Those standing before him yelled, "No!"
Badeh followed up with, "If we go with force what will happen?" Demonstrators responded with, "They will die."
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the defense chief said that the military should not be criticized for not having rescued the girls back from the Boko Haram.
"Nobody should say the Nigerian military does not know what it is doing." Badeh, added, "anybody castigating the military, definitely there is something wrong with him."
In April, several hundred school girls were abducted by the Boko Haram and the militant group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, later threatened to sell the girls into slavery. The country reluctantly reached out for international help as criticism continued to mount.