US military officials landed in Nigeria on Friday in a bid to assist the African country in the search for hundreds of school girls kidnapped by militant group Boko Haram.
A total of seven officials, along with advisers, will assist in local efforts to find the girls kidnapped in mid-April.
US Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, also the Pentagon press secretary, today clarified that the US has no plans to send American combat troops.
“Our inter-agency team is hitting the ground in Nigeria now and they are going to be working … with President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to do everything that we possibly can to return these girls,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday afternoon, CNN reported.
The development came amid suspicion that Boko Haram may have separated the nearly 300 girls it has abducted and taken them out of the country.
The suspicion came even as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to rescue the girls and bring them back.
“By God’s grace, we will conquer the terrorists. I believe the kidnap of these girls will be the beginning of the end for terror in Nigeria,” Jonathan said at the opening of the World Economic Forum meeting in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, CNN reported.
The abductions have caused international outrage with many nations, including the United States, Britain, China and France, offering assistance to Nigeria to help track down the girls.
The girls were abducted in mid-April from their beds at an all-girls school in the rural northeastern part of the African country.
The suspicion that the 276 girls may have been split up was voiced by US intelligence.