The U.S. has sent an interdisciplinary team from the State Department, Department of Defense and FBI to help the Nigerian government find and retrieve hundreds of Nigerian girls kidnapped by the Islamist rebel group Boko Haram, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
“The president and the first lady and others believe that we ought to be doing everything we can to assist the efforts of the Nigerian government to find and free these girls, and we are,” Carney said.
He said the U.S. is providing military and law enforcement assistance, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support.
The team consists of five State Department officials, including a team leader, two strategic communications experts, a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer, 10 Department of Defense planners and advisers, seven additional DoD advisers and four FBI officials with expertise in safe recovery, negotiations and preventing future kidnappings.
U.S. authorities are stepping up their assistance to the Nigerian government after a 17-minute video surfaced on YouTube in which the leader of Boko Haram offers to release the 200 girls abducted by his fighters last month in exchange for prisoners.
The video shows about 100 girls wearing full veils and praying in an undisclosed location as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, wearing military fatigues and holding an AK-47, addresses the camera.
Carney on Monday told reporters that White House officials have viewed the video and U.S. intelligence experts are combing over “every detail of it” for clues that might aid in the effort to secure the girls' release.