News / Africa

    US Role Likely Limited in Nigerian Hunt for Abducted Schoolgirls

    Women attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped school girls of a government secondary school Chibok, outside the defense headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, May 6, 2014.
    Women attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped school girls of a government secondary school Chibok, outside the defense headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, May 6, 2014.
    Ken Bredemeier
    While Nigeria's government has accepted offers from the United States, Britain and France to send law enforcement and military experts to assist in the investigation of nearly 300 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, experts say the U.S. role will likely be limited.

    U.S. President Barack Obama is among world officials who have condemned the kidnappings and the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin" and has claimed responsibility for the abductions.

    "It's a heartbreaking situation, an outrageous situation," the president said. "This may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community - to finally do something against this horrendous organization."

    With Nigeria's assent, the U.S. is sending in a variety of military advisers, criminal investigators and hostage negotiators to help find the girls.

    Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said Wednesday that a handful of U.S. military advisers - less than 10 - is part of the team that will depart within days to the Nigerian capital. He said there are no plans for a U.S. military operation.

    "Their mission there is simply to assess and advise," he said. "These personnel will be experts in areas to include communications, logistics, intelligence, all of the functionalities that we believe will be helpful."

    Limited assistance

    A former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, voiced skepticism at the extent of the U.S. effort.

    "I think it is highly unlikely that there would be large numbers of Americans going to Nigeria," he said. "Whatever assistance we might provide, and might be welcomed by the Nigerian side, is likely to be essentially technical."

    A former State Department official, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, said Nigeria in the past has been reluctant to accept U.S. assistance, believing it can handle its own affairs.

    "The government's willingness to accept publicly large amounts of assistance makes it look as though its policies in the past have failed, that it is ineffective and weak in dealing with a domestic issue and that its sovereignty...is being infringed because they can't in fact do it themselves," he said.

    Since 2009, Boko Haram has been involved in deadly attacks on schools and suicide bombings, while funding itself with bank robberies., Campbell said, adding that the Islamist militants control as much as a third of Nigeria.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: chukwuemeka ukor from: lagos
    May 08, 2014 4:06 AM
    Trully am still amazed why jonathan will be treating this boko haram issue with a kid gloves.what actually were the work of the military?why were not airforce brought in to get all these baggers.let him keep on acting mealy because of what these northerners will say not until the whole game will consume him to learn his lesson later.if it was in my past life when i was "The Fuehrer Of German Third Reich",since these boko haram issue would have been a thing of the past.Human beings with their poor religious upbringing.honestly speaking these sects of human animals were just damned too lucky.

    by: Rahim ODUAH from: Rivers state NIGERIA
    May 08, 2014 1:13 AM
    Boko haram, A dimonic and non educated organisation. They hate negotiating with the government, but maybe they might negotiate with the northern politicians and elders, because there sponsorers are in the mids, and some of the nigerian hausa armies are there people which pases infomation of the military to them. Some of the hausa police and army are boko haram. President jonathan should discouse the issues of boko haram in the south south, "not in the north, to keep the infomation away from the hausa armies and police. As for me cut off there supply of foods and ammunition, use a space satalite to read there movement.

    by: Arthur Flores from: Las cruces, N. M. USA
    May 07, 2014 7:31 PM
    You do not negotiate with abductors

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.