The United States has deployed troops to join the search for the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the extremist Boko Haram sect in Chibok, Borno State on April 15.
President Barack Obama has notified the Congress of the deployment of 80 military personnel, who will be based in Chad, Nigeria’s northern neighbour. Their mission is to help locate the kidnapped girls.
Obama has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and to the Senate, notifying lawmakers about the steps underway to assist in the return of the abducted girls.
According to Obama, the service members will help with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria.
The force will stay in Chad until its support is no longer necessary. Chad shares a portion of its western border with northeastern Nigeria.
The military and security agencies may have received satellite images of what looked like the camps where the abducted Chibok girls are kept by Boko Haram, The Nation learnt yesterday.
It was, however, still difficult as at press time to locate the exact place or places.
The analysis of the images by the military and other agencies was ongoing.
The April 15 abductors are believed to have been hiding in the Sambisa forest.
A security source, who spoke in confidence, said troops have not invaded Sambisa forest because a lot of intelligence gathering was being conducted by Nigerian military, security agencies and foreign forces.
The source said: “The search for the girls is still in progress. From intelligence gathering, the military and security agencies have got images of suspected camps or areas where the girls are being held hostage.
“We are analysing these images to be able to locate the exact place or places where the girls are kept.
“The images showed some clusters of people. The reality from these efforts is that it is still difficult to locate the exact point where the girls are.”
The source said the U.S. and other foreign nations have been collaborating with the Nigerian military and security agencies to locate where the girls are.
He added: “A major challenge is getting the spot where the girls are camped. There were contradictory information or clues from the locals and even these foreign partners do not want to capitalise on what the locals are saying.
“Sometimes, these locals would say the girls are in Sambisa forest or around Lake Chad or Cameroonian borders.
“So, a lot of intelligence coordination is ongoing as I am talking to you. It is just for the equipment to pick the exact camp.”[The Nation]