Monday, 12 May 2014
U.S. Military Flying Planes Over Nigeria to Find Missing Girls
The United States is flying manned missions over Nigeria to track down more than 200 abducted schoolgirls, a Pentagon official told Al Jazeera, as experts analyzed a new video released by their captors, seeking clues to the girls' location.
"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 senior U.S. administration official who asked to remain anonymous said Monday.
It's not immediately clear what type of aircraft the U.S. has deployed, or where the flights took off. A U.S. team of 30 experts in intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism and hostage negotiations is in Nigeria to assist the government's search.
Nigeria’s rebel group Boko Haram released a video on Monday claiming to depict scores of schoolgirls it had earlier abducted, alleging the teenagers had converted to Islam and stating that they would only be released as part of a swap with imprisoned insurgents.
The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, speaks on the video obtained by AFP for 17 minutes before showing what he said were the girls, in Muslim dress and praying in an undisclosed rural location. About 130 girls sit in black and gray abayas on scrubland near trees, reciting the first chapter of the Quran, and holding their palms upward in prayer.
Three of the girls are interviewed. Two say they were Christian and had converted while one said she was Muslim. Most of the group was seated. The girls appeared calm and one said that they had not been harmed. To date, no one has confirmed that the girls shown in the video are those abducted last month from a school in the north of the country.
Culled from ALJAZEERA
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By: SAMOD BIOBAKU