U.S. help is finally arriving in Nigeria to aid the search for the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militants.
A special team of seven U.S. military officials are expected to arrive in Nigeria on Friday. They will join about 60 U.S. interagency members already advising Nigeria on the search. (Via CNN)
CNN reports, "Their tasks include establishing a coordination cell to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise."
France and Britain have also mobilized similar task forces to Nigeria, but some fear it might already be too late to recover the more than 200 girls abducted by extremist group Boko Haram April 14. (Via ABC)
While a few girls have been able to escape their captors, U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged the likelihood that the remaining girls might have already been taken out of the country, separated and possibly sold into slavery or married off. (Via BBC)
The response has garnered strong words from world leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"This is not just a Nigerian issue; this is a global issue. There are extreme Islamists around our world who are against education, against progress, against equality, and we must fight them whereever they are." (Via Sky News)
Many have been critical of both the Nigerian government's response and the global community's slow reaction.
The New York Times' editorial board penned an op-ed calling Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck's handling of the situation deeply troubling.
"Mr. Jonathan, who leads a corrupt government that has little credibility, initially played down the group's threat and claimed security forces were in control. It wasn't until Sunday, more than two weeks after the kidnappings, that he called a meeting of government officials, including the leader of the girls' school, to discuss the incident."
Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. will do "everything [it] possibly can to return" the girls. There are no plans to send U.S. combat troops to Nigeria at this time.