The US government has offered to assist Nigeria locate and rescue the girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, abducted three weeks ago by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect. Accepting the offer on Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria would appreciate any support that would be given in ending the insurgency in Nigeria’s north east, reiterating a statement he made during a media chat on Sunday. U.S. intelligence officials will head to Nigeria to help with the search for 276 schoolgirls abducted last month by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Tuesday. Kerry, who discussed the coordinated approach with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan by phone Tuesday, said the two countries would move immediately to establish a task force at the U.S. embassy in the capital city to provide more expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiations, as well as information sharing and victim assistance. “We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of these young girls and we want to provide whatever assistance is possible in order to help for their safe return to their families,” Kerry said at a news conference at the State Department in Washington.He was joined by European Union foreign policy chief Cathy Ashton, with whom he’d met earlier in the day. The young women represent Nigeria’s future, Ashton said.SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>
“They are teachers, dancers, politicians. They are scientists. They are mothers. They are women in the making who have a right to play their full part in their society. And what has happened to them is devastating for all of us. And we must do, like you, everything possible to try and reunite them with their families and to prevent this ever, ever happening again.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the team heading to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria’s capital city would include U.S. military personnel and law enforcement officials trained in investigations and hostage negotiations. Also Presently US marines are in Nigeria to help the country’s security services tackle increasing threats, Nigeria is playing host to the 7th World Economic Forum Africa in Abuja today amid heightened security challenges.
The summit is expected to be attended by over 10 heads of state and government as well as over 900 delegates from 70 countries. Presidents of Algeria, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo have confirmed attendance.
Former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and former President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, are expected to attend. Also, over 50 chief executives of big global corporations have confirmed attendance.
However, because of recent blasts in Nyanya, on the outskirts of Abuja – there have been heightened fears of a possible terror attack during the summit.
Nigerian government has been assuring the world that it would provide maximum security, announcing a complete shut-down of schools and government offices during the summit.
It was reported on Tuesday that a 6,000-strong personnel, made up of soldiers and other security agents, will be deployed in Abuja – the heaviest security for a summit in Nigeria. The US marines have already arrived the country, according to sources in the know of their movement.
“They are not going to be directly involved in the World Economic Forum event,” a senior American security source said. “Their brief is to train the Nigerian security services. It should be expected that Nigerian agents will handle the security of the summit.” The marines are highly specialised soldiers who have been deployed in areas affected by serious conflict and terrorism, such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
They are described in Wikipedia as “an amphibious, expeditionary, air-ground combined arms task force, capable of forcible entry from the air, land, and sea. It is capable of asymmetric warfare with conventional, irregular, and hybrid forces.
While the Marine Corps does not employ any unique combat arms, as a force it can rapidly deploy a combined-arms task force to almost anywhere in the world within days.” Meanwhile, it is learnt that some of the extra security measures for the summit include:
Immediate deployment of the high security operation as against previous plans to deploy them from Tuesday Expansion of secure zone perimeters at key locations (initially limited to 250 metres radius) Additional security at venues, Abuja airport and key roads, as well as on dedicated shuttle services to and from the airport and between venues.