How the U.S. Is Helping Search for the Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls

A man attends a demonstration in Abuja, Nigeria Tuesday. A man attends a demonstration in Abuja, Nigeria Tuesday. Sunday Alamba/AP

American officials announced on Monday that they had begun flying manned surveillance missions over Nigeria in the hope of locating more than 200 missing girls who had been kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

The U.S. is also sharing commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerian investigation. Nigeria's own surveillance data has been criticized as lacking.

A team of 27 experts and security officials have been assigned to the case, and all but one of them are currently in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The crew includes five people from the State Department, 10 from the Pentagon, seven from the military’s Africa Command, and four from the FBI.

Additionally, according to The Washington Post, “A senior Pentagon official said that the United States has not mobilized drones to aid the search but that commanders in Africa are exploring whether to do so.” Those drones would be diverted from the ongoing hunt for Joseph Kony.

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