U.S. aircraft joins search for kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/13/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Mirroring worldwide concern, the United States has now sent aircraft to search for the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. A video posted by the militant group has since appeared on YouTube, which shows some of the kidnapped schoolgirls.
In the video, approximately 130 girls are shown acting quiet, docile and passive against a rural backdrop.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video includes a 10-minute clip showing some of the missing girls praying with their heads bowed. The state governor of Borno, where the girls were kidnapped four weeks ago, is circulating the video.
Officials have traveled to the remote area and circulated the video among families in a bid to verify their identities. At least one mother has confirmed that she saw her daughter among those veiled and sitting on the ground.
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The U.S. has scoured the vast area of forest, described as being around three times the size of Wales, where the Boko Haram is believed to be holding the girls.
"We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government's permission," a spokesperson for the Obama administration in Washington said.
The U.S. is providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support. Teams on the ground "are digging in on the search and coordinating closely with the Nigerian government as well as international partners and allies," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a news briefing.
In the video, approximately 130 girls are shown acting quiet, docile and passive against a rural backdrop. Officials from Nigeria, the U.S. and Britain have reportedly been checking the footage against their own intelligence reports in an attempt to identify the location where it was filmed.
A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau suggested they could be traded for the dozens of Islamist militants held in Nigeria's prisons. It marked the first sign that the girls' captors may be willing to negotiate.
The offer was initially rejected by the government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. His administration has been castigated for its seemingly lethargic response to the mass kidnapping as well as an earlier threat by Shekau to sell the girls as brides.
Nigerian Interior Minister Abba Moro told reporters that the authorities were not prepared to trade the schoolchildren. "The issue in question is not about Boko Haram giving conditions."
This sentiment was echoed by the father of one of the captive girls. He said: "It's not right. They'll do it again."
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