U.S. Africa Command has sent a team of 16 military personnel to Nigeria to help the government in the West African country locate and free more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped last month by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The team is participating in a U.S. Department of State-led interagency coordination and assessment cell to identify any assistance and resources required by the Nigerian government to locate and recover the missing girls.
In a recent interview, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters the cell is made up of personnel from the FBI, the intelligence community, and the U.S. military.
“The purpose of the AFRICOM team is to coordinate with the Nigerian military and assess their needs and determine what assistance we can provide them to help in their search,” said Col. Tom Davis, the Director of Public Affairs for U.S. Africa Command. “The team consists of experts in communications, logistics and intelligence.”
The team arrived in Nigeria on May 8th based on President Obama’s direction and with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s acceptance of the U.S. offer of assistance. The team has begun their coordination efforts as part of this broad interdisciplinary team.
“We are in the assessment phase right now. This will allow us to determine what assistance is needed and what assistance we can provide the Nigerian military,” Davis said. “No other troops have deployed or are involved in operations against Boko Haram.”
U.S. Africa Command stands firmly with the Nigerian military and the people of Nigeria in their efforts to bring these girls home safely. The command understands that this is not just a military problem, likewise, AFRICOM will do its part in a comprehensive U.S. effort to support the Nigerian government.