Pentagon: US Dispatching Small Military Team to Help Find Kidnapped Nigerian Girls
The State Department announced that a team of less than ten members of the US military will be dispatched to Nigeria as part of a larger group of American diplomats who will help the Nigerian government find the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Islamist terror group Boko Haram.
ABC News reports today that the Pentagon announced a team of American soldiers will arrive "in coming days" to the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as part of the promised aid from the United States to Nigeria in rescuing the abducted girls and eradicating Boko Haram. The limited military presence will join a team including a number of civilian "members from the State Department, the Justice Department and the FBI," the report notes.
The Pentagon was clear in noting that “at this time we are not considering a US operation to rescue the girls.” However, their statement also noted that the team would be treating the situation "like a hostage crisis."
While the State Department has said they will provide any help the Nigerian government requests, a Fox News report clarifies that the military personnel joining the search will specifically be "logistics and communications experts who will assess the situation and advise Nigerian officials," according to Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren.
Boko Haram kidnapped the teen-aged girls from a school in Chibok, a town in the northeastern state of Borno, during a physics exam by convincing the girls that they were about to be attacked by Boko Haram. The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, announced his intentions to sell the girls for profit in a video in which he claimed "Allah says I should sell" the girls, and urged young girls to stay out of school and "get married." Relatives of the missing children who have formed ad hoc search groups have reported sightings of "mass weddings" between the abducted girls and members of the terrorist group.
The news of aid from the United States follows protests both in Nigeria and in Washington, D.C., demanding both governments do all in their power to find the missing girls. As the international spotlight on the Boko Haram threat grows larger, the group itself has remained active, though mostly in areas of northeastern Nigeria where few journalists can rapidly extract news of their attacks. Such an attack occurred this Monday, according to reports. Boko Haram attacked a village marketplace before razing the village. Reports vary on the death toll of the attack, but between one hundred to four hundred people were said to have been killed in the raid.