Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. is lending intelligence assistance to Nigeria to help find 276 schoolgirls abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram on April 14.
Following Secretary of State John Kerry’s pronouncement on Saturday that Washington “will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes,” Department of Justice (DOJ) senior officials said Monday that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered an intelligence assessment on Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sin.”
At the Department of State, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said Monday that the U.S. is helping Nigeria in counterterrorism through intelligence and information sharing.
“Obviously, these are all things that will be helpful as they try to find these girls, who, as we have many indications, many of them have likely been moved out of the country to neighboring countries at this point,” Harf said.
The Boko Haram has released a video to AFP showing the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, declaring he abducted the girls. Shekau said he will sell the girls in the marketplace as Boko Haram fighters raised and fired their rifles in the background while chanting “Allahu akba!” or “God is great.”
The schoolgirls ages 16 to 18 were taken from their dormitories at the Government Girls Secondary School in the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria on the night of April 15. Armed men ordered the girls to board a truck and drove them into the forest along the border with Cameroon. Fifty-three schoolgirls were able to escape by jumping off the truck.
The failure of the government to rescue the girls to date has triggered civilian protests in northeastern Nigeria and the capital Abuja.