News / Africa

US Using Chad as Base in Search for Nigerian Girls

Nigerians take part in a protest demanding for the release of secondary school girls abducted from the remote village of Chibok, in Asokoro district in Abuja, Nigeria, May 13, 2014.
Nigerians take part in a protest demanding for the release of secondary school girls abducted from the remote village of Chibok, in Asokoro district in Abuja, Nigeria, May 13, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama has deployed 80 U.S. military personnel to Chad to help find more than 250 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militants last month in neighboring Nigeria.

Pentagon officials said the Air Force team will fly unmanned and unarmed aircraft over northern Nigeria and that Chad’s proximity to the search area will cut down on travel time, allowing for around-the-clock surveillance.

GlobalSecurity.org's Tim Brown told VOA via Skype launching drones from Chad also gives the U.S. more flexibility.
 
“They’re probably going to be used for a wider area of search, surveillance and then support if there happens to be a hostage rescue attempt or any kind of on the ground deployment of troops,” he said.
 
The move, announced in a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama to lawmakers, is part of Washington’s ongoing effort “to locate and support the safe return” of the girls, kidnapped last month by Boko Haram, the militant Islamic sect that has been terrorizing Nigeria.
 
But it’s an effort that’s been complicated by concerns about the Nigerian government, and weaknesses Brown said have been further exposed by Boko Haram’s actions.
 
“They’re [Boko Haram] showing the fact that these guys [the Nigerian government] are not able to walk and chew gum at the same time and they’re corrupt, and they are,” he said.

The new drone flights from Chad will be in addition to ongoing U.S. surveillance efforts.
 
“We’re flying unmanned reconnaissance flights over the areas in which we think it’s possible for the girls to be. We’ve not seen anything that indicates their location at this point,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby earlier this week.

So far, the flights have produced little. “People have said it’s a needle in a haystack. It’s a needle in a jungle,” Kirby said.
 
U.S. military officials remain convinced Boko Haram has split the girls up into smaller groups and may be moving them around, making the search even more difficult. But they said the U.S. will do all it can to find the girls short of sending in combat troops, or as they put it, putting boots on the ground.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 22, 2014 10:31 AM
Best arrangement for a country that is unsafe from within and untrusted from without. It has to be aerial views otherwise Jonathan wants foreigners to do for him what he is unable to do at home. There would have been an outright sabotage to give away the foreign soldiers to boost boko haram boast of being able to take on the US army. However, Nigerians are awaiting some early results from the most dreaded army in the world to shut up the idiots and their mentors. It's not as if these insurgents and their sponsors are unknown to the government and people in out there, but there is an absolute lack of courage to do what is right here. Otherwise how is it that no one has been queried since the abduction of the schoolgirls either for dereliction of duty or at least so that records show that government is doing something? If only to say that the government is doing something, there should have been at least a query, but to show the absolute lack of initiative in a "government that is practically non-existent" (John McCain, absolutely correct), it's business as usual. If what we suffer in Nigeria today under president Jonathan is democracy, when are Nigerians going to be free?

In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
May 23, 2014 3:26 AM
Bro, excellent comment, ...thank you!


by: ali baba from: new york
May 21, 2014 10:13 PM
it is extremely difficult to find these girls. they need a help from local residence and these people are afraid from BK. in addition Chad is a big country and most of land are desert. this make the task very difficult. American and European can supply them with equipment but local army has to work hard to disable Bk

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid