World News

US to Aid Nigeria in Search for Missing Girls

The United States is sending a team of experts to Nigeria to help in the search for more than 250 kidnapped school girls.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted the U.S. offer, following talks by phone on Tuesday with Secretary of State John Kerry.

In a briefing, Psaki also said the U.S. embassy in Abuja was prepared to send a "coordination cell" that would include U.S. military personnel and law enforcement officials.

"An interdisciplinary team, and this is what they discussed on the call, that could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations, and hostage negotiations, help facilitate information sharing, and provide victim assistance."

On Monday, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram released a video saying it was responsible for the mid-April abduction of several hundred girls from their secondary school in Chibok, a town in the northern Borno state region.

More than 300 girls were kidnapped. Some managed to escape but 276 remain missing.

Earlier Tuesday, residents in another northern Nigeria village said suspected Boko Haram militants had kidnapped eight more girls in the region.

The residents of Warabe said Tuesday that gunmen stormed their village Sunday and kidnapped the girls. They say the kidnappers, who were in several vehicles, also took food and livestock during the raid.

In the video released Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau said, "I abducted your girls," and vowed to, in his words, sell them in the market.

The United Nations human rights office has warned Islamist militants they could face charges of crimes against humanity if they carried out the threat to sell the kidnapped girls.

In a Tuesday briefing, a spokesman for U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay said under international law, it would be "one of the most serious crimes" that exists. The spokesman also said those responsible for such a crime could be arrested, prosecuted and "jailed at any time in the future."

Also Tuesday, Britain said it was supporting the Nigerian government's efforts to find the girls.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government is offering "practical help" to Nigeria.

"What has happened here with the actions of Boko Haram in using girls as the spoils of war, the spoils of terrorism is disgusting, it is immoral; it should show everybody across the world that they should not give any support to such a vile organization."

Some Nigerians have been critical of the government, saying President Jonathan's administration has not done enough to secure the girls' release. In a VOA interview , ruling People's Democratic Party spokesman Abdullahi Jalo said Mr. Jonathan is doing everything possible.

"He reaffirmed to people that no matter what, the government will spend its last blood, its last effort to see that these people, these girls, are returned to their loved ones."

During a televised appearance on Sunday, President Jonathan said he had ordered his top security officials to do all they could to secure the girls' release.

Unconfirmed reports say some of the girls have been "married" to their captors, while others allegedly have been moved across the border into Cameroon and Chad.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs