The US has deployed about 80 troops to Chad in hunt for more than two hundred schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria, US President Barack Obama has said.
“Approximately 80 US Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to Chad as part of the US efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria,” Obama said in a letter to Congressional leadership.
These personnel, Obama said, will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.
The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required, he said.
Meanwhile, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the search for the kidnapped girls is ongoing, the lead of which is with the Nigerians.
“We’re continuing to lend our unique assets and capabilities to assist in this search. We’ll continue to evaluate what additional resources we might bring to bear in support of this effort,” she said.
“Long before the tragic kidnapping of these girls, we have been working with Nigerian authorities, with partners in the region to address the threat of Boko Haram, and that assistance we’ve been providing, whether it’s financial assistance or mentoring assistance in a range of areas,” Psaki said.