Nigerians seek more U.S. help
The United States is considering a request by Nigeria to provide surveillance aircraft and intelligence to find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
“The Nigerians have asked for assistance in that area and we are considering it,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. assistant-secretarty of State for African Affairs, said in an interview.
U.S. military, law-enforcement and development experts, including some skilled in hostage negotiations, started arriving in Nigeria on Thursday to help search for the missing girls and tackle the rising threat from Boko Haram. France, Britain and China have also offered help.
Thomas-Greenfield said the United States has worked with Nigeria since September on improving the African country's ability to fight Boko Haram after a request by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to President Obama.
The (British) team will fly to Nigeria “as soon as possible,” Prime Minister David Cameron's office told the AFP news service.
The Islamic terrorists, who believe girls should not be educated, took the girls from their school and brought them to their base in a heavily forested region of Nigeria. The group's leader has threatened to sell the girls into slavery.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan accepted the British offer of help when he spoke with Cameron by phone and Jonathan said the abduction could be a turning point in the battle against Islamist militants.
“I believe that the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria,” he said, addressing the World Economic Forum being held in Abuja.
Top religious scholars working under the world's largest bloc of Islamic countries said Thursday they strongly condemn the kidnappings. The group's leader has used Islamic teachings as justification for threatening to sell the girls into slavery.
The Islamic Fiqh Academy, which is based in Saudi Arabia and dedicated to the advanced study of Islam, said that this “crime and other crimes committed by the likes of these extremist organizations contradicts all humanitarian principles and moral values and violates the provisions of the Quran and Sunnah,” or teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.
“There was no excuse whatsoever for this criminal action which tarnishes the good image of Islam, a tolerant and moderate religion that rejects extremism in all its forms and manifestations,” Madani said.
Meanwhile, residents of a Nigerian town attacked by Boko Haram criticized security forces for failing to protect them despite warnings that the Islamic militants were nearby. At least 50 bodies have been recovered, many horribly burned, in the town.
The attack on Gamboru, in remote northeastern Nigeria near the border with Cameroon, is part of the Islamic militants' campaign of terror that included the kidnapping of teenaged girls from a school, 276 of whom remain missing and believed held by Boko Haram in the vast Sambisa Forest in northeastern Nigeria.
The death toll from the Monday afternoon attack in Gamboru was initially reported by a senator to be as many as 300, but a security official said it is more likely to be around 100. Some Gamboru residents said bodies were recovered from the debris of burned shops around the town's main market, which was the focus of the attack.
The bodies were found after the market reopened on Wednesday as health workers, volunteers and traders searched for missing people, said Gamboru resident Abuwar Masta. He said most of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. Some of the victims were traders from Chad and Cameroon, he said.
“It seems they hid in the shops in order not (to) be killed while fleeing,” Masta said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, several explosives were thrown into the market.”
Masta and other traders said that some villagers had warned the security forces of an impending attack after insurgents were seen camping in the bush near Gamboru.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Ukraine aims to ride reform to European Union
- U.S. military shifts strategy to smaller Iraq force
- OPEC to maintain crude oil output target
- Mexico targets local corruption
- Bus station blast kills 40 in Nigeria
- Egypt’s fixation on dictator Mubarak trial wanes
- 5 terror plots foiled, London police say
- U.S. forces help rescue hostages in Yemen
- Islamic State drive for Kobani blunted
- Crowds in Ukraine show lingering tensions amid Biden visit to back pro-West officials