Nigerian kidnappings: US agrees to send team of experts to help with search for 200 abducted girls
Barack Obama hopes it will 'mobilise the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation'
Wednesday 07 May 2014
The US government has sent security and military experts to Nigeria to help with the search for the 200 schoolgirls abducted last month by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
The 223 girls were sitting their final exams in the village of Chibook in the northeastern region of the West African when a group of abductors from Boko Haram, whose name translates as "Western education is forbidden", stormed the building in which the girls were sleeping and kidnapped them.
Now, after nearly three weeks of Nigerian search efforts proving fruitless, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have decided to send a team to help with the search - a move that is said to be supported by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
As part of the plan, a team of experienced military officials and those with expertise in hostage situations will be set up in the Nigerian capital of Abuja and coordinate various activities with the aim of tracking down and retrieving the girls.
Speaking to American news channel ABC Obama said: "We have already sent in a team to Nigeria... a combination of military, law enforcement, and other agencies that are going in, trying to identify where in fact these girls might be."
He said that the kidnappings were "heartbreaking" and denounced Boko Haram as one of the worst regional terrorist organisations” that have been "killing people ruthlessly for years now."
He also said despite the kidnappings being "outrageous", he hoped that the event "helped to mobilise the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation that's perpetrated such a terrible crime."
This was echoed by Secretary of State Kerry, who is currently in Africa meeting with leaders from across the continent.
He said during a speech in Ethiopia earlier this week: "The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice."
Adding: "Our responsibility and the world’s responsibility is to stand up against that kind if nihilism."
The move by the USA comes just a day after it was reported that more abductions of schoolgirls had taken place in the north of Nigeria and the announcement by the leader of Boko Haram that he would “sell” the abducted girls.
Yesterday, in the village of Warabe also situated in the north-eastern region of Borno, armed gunmen attacked villagers, abducting eight young girls as well as stealing cattle and food.
According to eyewitnesses, the men opened fire on villagers before retreating with the girls.
While Boko Haram haven't admitted responsibility for the Warabe abductions, their leader, Abubakar Shekau, did say that his group was responsible for the Chibok kidnappings and that he planned to carry out "God's instructions" by selling the girls.
While he did not reveal where the abducted girls were being held, it is believed that Boko Haram could have moved the group out of Nigeria and across the border into neighbouring Chad or Cameroon - something which both countries deny.
The help from the US will be good news for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigeria's military forces who have come under severe criticism over the government's inability to find the abducted girls and their ineffectiveness in to nullifying the threat of Boko Haram.
Two days of protests have taken place in Nigeria's capital Abuja and its commercial centre Lagos, calling on the government to step up their efforts in finding the girls and ensure instances like this do not occur in the future.
The Chibook abduction is yet another in a long list of abductions and killings carried out by Boko Haram.
Mainly operating in the Muslim North of Nigeria Boko Haram has killed thousands in trying to achieve their goal of creating their own Islamic state in the north of the country.
As of yet, the government has been unable to prevent these attacks, and President Jonathan is coming under increasing pressure to find a solution for the Boko Haram problem.
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