U.S. officials are on the ground in Nigeria to help the government there find the hundreds of girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram, Secretary of State John Kerry announced today.
“Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now, and they are going to be working in concert with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls to their families and their communities,” Kerry said during an appearance with Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad Jarba.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not say exactly how many officials were in the first group of American experts and advisers to arrive in Nigeria but said the final tally will be in the dozens, in addition to the embassy officials already on the ground there.
Psaki said Wednesday that the FBI and USAID are among the agencies that stood ready to provide personnel.
A separate team of seven military experts, dispatched via the Department of Defense, will likely depart tomorrow for Nigeria, according to Pentagon officials.
They will provide support in communications, logistics and intelligence, largely out of the U.S. embassy in Abuja, and won’t be actively searching for the missing girls, officials said. An additional team of 11 military officials is already on the ground there.
The U.S. embassies in neighboring Chad and Cameroon have also been coordinating security measures with their host governments, in the event Boko Haram violence, or signs of the girls, cross over the Nigerian border, officials said.