Monday, February 19, 2018
News Roundup

British, U.S. experts join Nigeria's search for girls

LAGOS, Nigeria — The international effort to rescue the 276 schoolgirls being held captive by Islamic extremists in northeastern Nigeria was boosted Friday when British security experts joined the Nigerian and U.S. forces trying to rescue the missing students.

Britain said its aim was not only to help with the current crisis but also to defeat Boko Haram.

"The team will be considering not just the recent incidents but also longer-term counter-terrorism solutions to prevent such attacks in the future and defeat Boko Haram," the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement Friday.

The American team was joined by six additional military officers, and more are expected soon, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. The U.S. officers will assess what the Nigerian military needs that the United States could provide in the search for the girls, he said.

Hostage negotiation is another area in which the American team will assist, said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

China, France and Spain have also promised help.

Demonstrations in support of the missing Nigerian girls have been held around the world and a social media campaign — dubbed #BringBackOurGirls — continues to grow.

As the worldwide effort expanded, the weakness of the Nigerian military was exposed in a report issued by Amnesty International. It said the military did not respond to warnings that Boko Haram rebels were about to attack Chibok, the town where the young women were abducted from their school.

Nigerian security forces had four hours of notice about the April 15 attack but did not react because of their fear of engaging the extremists, Amnesty International said in the report, citing multiple interviews with credible sources.

"This abduction could have been prevented," said Amnesty spokeswoman Susanna Flood.

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