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 and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    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

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora