In order not to severe her ties with Nigeria, the UK Ministry of Defense says it has information about the missing Chibok girls but cannot share it, as revealing details of what it found about the whereabouts of the abducted girls would clearly damage its relationship with the country and other allies.According to reports, this revelation came after an independent security organization, Security In Africa, who planned to storm the Sambisa forest to rescue the girls, wrote a letter to UKgovernment asking for any information they had on the missing girls.
Part of the letter written by Security In Africa founder, Ben Oguntala reads;
“We seek to know the results and reports of the British Armed Forces, the details of where they searched and the results of their findings. We also seek to have the details of the technology, technique or methodology used in the search and the consequential results”.
However, a response to the request letter by the UK Ministry of Defence Permanent Joint Headquarters in Middlesex, dated February 25th stated that the UK will not be able to release any information on its findings about the Chibok girls as some of the information requested for has the potential of adversely affecting their relations with their allies
“The information falls entirely within the scope of the qualified exemption provided for at section 27 (International Relations) of the FOIA and has been withheld. Section 27 is a qualified exemption and is subject to public interest testing which means that the information requested can only be withheld if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Section 27(1)(a), (1)(c) and (2) have been applied because some of the information has the potential to adversely affect relations with our allies. The Public Interest Test concluded that whilst release would increase public understanding and confidence in the relation the United Kingdom has with other international states in its assistance with operations, the balance of the public interest lay in withholding the information you desire. We have considered it necessary to apply the higher level of prejudice against release of the exempted information at the higher level of ‘would’ rather than ‘would be likely to’ adversely affect relations with our allies.” the letter read
The UK Defence ministry however shared information on the technology, methodology and technique they used during the search of the Chibok girls. According to the letter, RAF Sentinel R1 and Tornado aircraft were used to “provide imagery and other data as part of a combined effort with Nigeria and other nations.”
The Sentinel R1 is the UK Royal Air Force’s only long-range wide area battlefield surveillance asset, providing critical intelligence and target tracking information to British and Coalition forces.