News / Africa

US Assisting Nigeria in Search for Abducted Schoolgirls

People take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos, May 5, 2014.
People take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos, May 5, 2014.
Victor Beattie
The White House Monday confirmed the United States is helping Nigeria in the effort to find and free nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted April 14 from a school in northeastern Borno State. On the same day the Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the mass abduction, a U.S. spokesperson suggested many of the girls may have already been moved out of the country.
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney Monday denounced the kidnappings “as an outrage and terrible tragedy.”
 
"The president has been briefed several times, and his national security team continues to monitor the situation there closely. The State Department has been in regular touch with the Nigerian government about what we might do to help support its efforts to find and free these young women," said Carney.
 
Carney said U.S. counterterrorism assistance includes information-sharing, improving Nigeria’s forensics and investigative capacity, protecting civilians and ensuring human rights are respected, strengthening Nigeria’s criminal justice system and supporting efforts to bring to account those responsible.
 
"We’re also pursuing efforts to help the Nigerian military improve its professional military education, to bolster its counter-IED (improvised explosive device) capacity and carry out responsible CT (counterterrorism) operations," said Carney.
 
He said the United States, which designated Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization last year, supports programs and initiatives providing positive alternatives to communities most at risk of radicalization and recruitment.
 
During a news briefing Monday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf underscored the importance of these U.S. efforts.
 
“Obviously, these are all things that will be helpful as they try to find these girls who, as we have many indications, many of them have likely been moved out of the country to neighboring countries at this point,” said Harf. “We’d obviously encourage the government of Nigeria to work with their neighbors to see if there’s ways they can work together.”
 
Harf said she did not anticipate any use of U.S. military assets in the search and safe return of the abductees.
 
In a video message released Monday to news agencies, the head of Boko Haram, Abubaker Shekau, described the girls as “slaves” and threatened “to sell them in the marketplace.”
 
The abductions prompted U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who as a prosecutor dealt with issues related to human trafficking, to take to the Senate floor and say  there are reports the girls, some as young as 15, are being sold into forced marriages with militants for as little as $12.
 
"Let’s call this what it is, one of the most brazen and shocking signal incidents of human trafficking we’ve seen in recent memory.  As Secretary of State John Kerry said this weekend, it’s not just an act of terrorism, it’s a massive human trafficking moment and it is grotesque.  This heinous crime demands that we take action immediate to help bring these girls home to their families and bring their kidnappers to justice," said Klobuchar.
 
Klobuchar said the Boko Haram Islamist militant group, whose name means ‘western education is sinful,’ has destroyed more than 200 Nigerian schools and killed dozens of students. She said the girls were trying to improve their lives by getting a good education.
 
The Minnesota Democrat said the world is finally paying attention, with the families of the girls reaching out through social media using the Twitter hashtag, “bring back our girls.”
 
She called for a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the abductions and seeks international assistance to gain the girls’ release, provide U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to Nigeria and work to strengthen the abilities of Nigeria and neighboring countries to counter Boko Haram, protect children and combat human trafficking.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid