Nigeria Asks US For Help Finding Abducted Schoolgirls

Nigeria Asks US For Help Finding Abducted Schoolgirls

A senior U.S. intelligence official confirmed to NBC News that Nigeria officially asked for help Tuesday in finding 200-plus schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram.

The FBI has been tasked with the job and the Office of the Director of
National Intelligence could also help with satellite imaging and electronic eavesdropping, the official said.

A second senior U.S. official confirmed that U.S. intelligence is already in the region including unarmed drones that could be deployed to hunt for the missing girls and their abductors.

Both officials stressed that U.S. technical assistance was not a
guarantee the girls would be found.

Carl LeVan, an assistant professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and an expert on Boko Haram spoke to President Goodluck Jonathan while travelling in Nigeria last month. He said he thought the new feeling of cooperation could lead to positive results.

The U.S. publicly announced an offer for help last week. On Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and a plan was put in action.

“So what we’ve done is — we have offered, and it’s been accepted — help from our military and our law enforcement officials,” President Barack Obama told NBC News’ Al Roker on Tuesday. “We’re going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them.”

Kerry said Tuesday in a press conference in Washington, D.C. that a joint intelligence cell would be set up at the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and would begin work immediately.

“Our embassy in Abuja is prepared to form a coordination cell that could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage
negotiations and to help facilitate information-sharing and victim
assistance,” he said. “President Goodluck Jonathan was very happy to receive this offer and ready to move on it immediately. And we are immediately engaging in order to implement this.”

He added, “we remained deeply concerned about the welfare of these
young girls.”