The United States government has offered Nigeria help in finding the more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls currently under the custody of radical Islamist terror group Boko Haram. While the U.S. is reportedly offering satellite intelligence and other aid, many in Nigeria are concerned this is not enough.
Nigeria’s Vanguard reports that sources within the United States told the UK’s Telegraph that military help to find the girls is highly unlikely. While the U.S. has allegedly established a drone base in neighboring Niger, where it has been reported that Boko Haram recruits teenagers to commit terrorist acts for money, the Telegraph‘s source said merely, “We are sharing intelligence that may be relevant to this situation. You are going to see a focus on this in all three channels of government: diplomatic, intelligence and military.”
Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said she could not anticipate the use of American troops on the ground. CNN also reports that U.S. sources said:
Nigerian authorities so far have not asked for specific help in any kind of possible joint rescue mission. One of the officials said the Nigerians privately indicated they want to handle the situation themselves, perhaps because they don’t want visible American forces in their country.
Yesterday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video in which he vowed to sell all the girls into slavery. In the video, Shekau scolded women to “get married” and stop going to school, insisting that “Allah says I should sell” girls and women.
In Nigeria, every day whittles away the hope of finding all the girls safe and sound. Emmanuel Ogebe, an international attorney working with Boko Haram survivors in Nigeria, told Breitbart News that the attacks were “not completely unforeseen,” but to the contrary, part of Boko Haram’s systematic targeting of females of all ages.
Writing to Breitbart News from Nigeria, he noted numerous examples of this from long before the Chibok mass abduction:
A September 2013 fact-finding mission I conducted determined that Boko Haram had began specifically targeting females and school children. Earlier, we had encountered a lady, Mrs Shettima, whose husband was killed in front of her kids for refusing to convert to Islam. Irritated by her crying daughters, the terrorists abducted them. They were aged seven and nine at the time of the 2012 incident.
Ogebe argued that American intelligence assistance will not be sufficient to counter the threat. “The U.S. is not doing enough,” he wrote. “Intelligence assistance to Nigeria is overstretched and understaffed covering multiple countries in Africa instead of Nigeria which is challenging enough just by itself.”
The Nigerian government, meanwhile, offers even less hope: “With inadequate record keeping, lack of a citizen data-base, absence of human impact responses and systemic dissimulation as state strategy, it will be difficult to tell if all the Chibok girls will ever be rescued or accounted for – whether 243 or 276.”
Ogebe also noted that the mass kidnapping of girls is a reminder that Boko Haram is first and foremost an extremist religious organization, and not the organized crime or economic syndicate that some Nigerian leaders have indicated. “The abduction of these low value targets in terms of ransom is again a clear reminder that at its core this is a religious jihad as Boko Haram has repeatedly declared and not an economic rebellion as others would have us believe,” he said.
Note: Since publication of this article, the United States has pledged to send a team into Nigeria to help rescue the abducted girls.