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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora