Nigerian officials on Tuesday welcomed a U.S. offer to send an American team of military personnel and law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostages to help the country’s efforts to find and rescue the nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic militants in the country’s northeast.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the American embassy in Nigeria is “prepared to form a coordination cell” that will aid in Nigeria’s efforts.
Kerry said Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan “happily” welcomed the offer of a U.S. embassy team that could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations, and hostage negotiations, help facilitate information sharing, and provide victim assistance.
“We are immediately engaging to implement this,” Kerry said.
The U.S. has been involved for some time in the fight against Boko Haram – the Islamic military group that has sowed bloody havoc in Nigeria’s northeast for years, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
“In just the last year alone, we’ve provided approximately $3 million in law enforcement assistance to Nigeria including assistance to develop Nigerian capacity to search, identify, mitigate and dispose of IEDs and related materials,” Psaki said.
CBS News State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan reported on “CBS This Morning” that American officials have admitted many of the girls kidnapped three weeks ago have likely already been sold or smuggled out of the country.
In a video message released Monday, the leader of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, said the schoolgirls are now slaves.
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