Posted by News Express | 9 May 2014 | 5,218 times
Barring any last minute changes, the United States military support to Nigeria towards the rescue of the 250 schoolgirls, otherwise referred to as Chibok girls, who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists will arrive the country this weekend.
“Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now and they are going to be working in concert with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls to their families and their communities,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday.
“We are also going to do everything possible to counter the menace of Boko Haram,” Kerry added, promising that the US team, working with the Nigerian government, would do everything possible to free the girls.
Already the UK has hit the ground running with training teams and counterterrorist officers from MI6 and Special Forces in Nigeria. It was gathered that a 20-man team of anti-terrorists has started work with the Nigerian military.
France and Canada are being awaited to follow as they have indicated interest in joining to assist Nigeria in its anti-insurgency fight.
The US Government had earlier confirmed that it would send a compact team of military experts that will join the Nigerian military and provide tactical and intelligence support on how to rescue the abducted girls who are believed to be in Sambisa Forest.
It was gathered that the US will also deploy some drones that will send digital images from the forest for military analysis for locations and kinds of weapons available to the insurgents. Military experts from the US will include drones and anti-terrorist experts.
Yesterday, the US Ambassador to Nigeria met with President Goodluck Jonathan and National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, where they discussed modalities for the deployment of the experts and equipment in Chibok.
Earlier, Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, had stated that the team, mostly from US Africa Command, would arrive in Nigeria in the next few days.
The US Air Force Predator drones based in neighboring Niger are likely to be deployed for the search. Warren had assured that “we are discussing with the Nigerian government for any type of information sharing arrangements we can work out.”
The drones have been operating out of Niger since last year to assist French forces that have been on ground to contain insurgency in Nigeria.
The kidnap, on April 14, of the schoolgirls in Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, has taken centre stage and the international community has indicated strong interest to assist Nigeria fight terrorism.
President Jonathan has equally welcomed all assistance members of the global community can render to end Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria.
•Pieced together from stories in BBC and Nigerian Pilot. Photo, courtesy defense.gov, shows US Marines in action.
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