Bring Back Our Girls: US Officials Joining the Search for Missing Nigerian Girls

Bring-back-our-girlsU.S. military officials are expected to arrive in Nigeria on Friday to help in the search for hundreds of girls kidnapped by Islamist militants, the Pentagon said.

The seven will join a team already advising Nigeria on the search, said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, who serves as Pentagon press secretary.

About 60 U.S. interagency members have been on the ground since before the kidnappings as part of counterterrorism efforts with Nigeria, a senior U.S. administration official told CNN. They have been holding meetings, getting resources into the country and making assessments with local authorities.

“Our interagency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now and they are going to be working … with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.

Their tasks include establishing a coordination cell to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise.

There are no plans to send American combat troops, according to Kirby.

A British team drawn from the country’s Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and defense ministry arrived in Abuja Friday, the foreign office said.

They will work with Nigerian authorities and the U.S. team both on strategies to rescue the girls and longer-term efforts to defeat Boko Haram, the office said in a statement.

International outrage

Boko Haram herded nearly 300 girls out of bed under the cover of darkness on April 14 at a school in northeastern Nigeria.

A few escapees shared harrowing tales of escaping into a nearby forest. Authorities said the 276 still missing likely have been separated and taken out of the country.

International outrage has escalated over the nation’s largely ineffective effort to subdue Boko Haram.

“By God’s grace, we will conquer the terrorists. I believe the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end for terror in Nigeria,” Jonathan said at the World Economic Forum meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

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