Tuesday, 13 May 2014

US Flying 'Manned' Missions, Analyses Video Released by Boko Haram to Find Missing Schoolgirls

According to a new report on AFP, the U.S has deployed manned surveillance aircraft over Nigeria in a bid to find the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, while experts are analyzing the video of the teenagers released by the militants, cos they are confident it contains clues that will tell them when and where it was shot.

Washington has sent military, law-enforcement and development experts to Nigeria to help search for the 200-odd missing girls and so far, AFP reports that a senior US administration official, asking not to be named, said:
‘We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and are flying manned
ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government's permission.’
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also said earlier Monday, of the video released by the Boko Haram group purportedly showing about 130 of the girls:Continue...

"Our intelligence experts are combing through every detail of the video for clues that might help ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls. We have no reason to question its authenticity."
In the video, the Islamic militant group's leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls may be released once Nigeria frees all the Boko Haram prisoners it has in custody. But that proposal has been rejected by the Nigerian government, and Psaki recalled that the US policy is also "to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, including ransoms or concessions."

A 30-strong US team arrived on the ground last week in Nigeria to help growing efforts to find the girls aged between 16 to 18, snatched from their boarding school in the northeast of the country on April 14. The White House said the team included:
  •  five State Department officials,
  • two strategic communications experts,
  • a civilian security expert and
  • a regional medical support officer.
Also on the manifest are:
  • 10 Defense Department planners already in Nigeria,
  • seven extra military advisors from US Africa Command and
  • four FBI officials expert in hostage negotiations.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said:
We are talking about helping the Nigerian government search an area that is roughly the size of New England. So this is no small task. But we are certainly bringing resources to bear in our effort to assist the government."
Psaki stressed the Nigerian authorities were "in the lead" during the investigation.

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