In its aid to the Nigerian government to find the schoolgirls abducted by terrorist outfit Boko Haram, the United States (US) has sent a manned surveillance aircraft and is also sharing the related imageries with the Nigerian authorities, the American government has stated on 12 May.
More than 200 schoolgirls have been kidnapped by the Islamist militant group from a secondary school in Chibok, in remote northeastern Nigeria on 14 April. The militant outfit has threatened to sell the girls as slaves in the market.
Abubakar Shekau, the terrorist group leader, in a latest video, has offered to release the abducted schoolgirls in exchange of its imprisoned militants by the Nigerian government. However, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to do so and asked the militant group to release the schoolgirls first.
Jonathan has welcomed the American aid that includes deployment of experts on hostage negotiations. The US has already sent personnel from military and law-enforcement department to Nigeria in search of the missing schoolgirls.
Sources in the US government said that manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) crafts are flying over Nigeria with the permission from the local government. The US-deployed teams are extending their services by coordinating closely with the Nigerian authorities, as well as the international allies, taking part in the search for the schoolgirls.
The US has also expressed its willingness to send its unmanned drone aircraft to track the militants and the abducted schoolgirls. The US personnel in Nigeria have already been conducting search for the schoolgirls by manned surveillance planes since the last few days.
Besides the US government, First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have been batting for the safe rescue of the abducted schoolgirls. Michelle is leading the campaign "Bring Back Our Girls" on social media platforms.
Jonathan recently stated that he believes that the schoolgirls are still in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the anguished parents of the abductees are said to be pressing for negotiations with the Islamic militant group, according to media reports.