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Nigeria girls’ abduction: US deploys manned planes

The US has revealed it is flying manned

surveillance missions over Nigeria to try to

find more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped

by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The US is also sharing commercial satellite

imagery with the Nigerian government,

officials said.

It comes after militants released a video of

about 130 girls, saying they could be swapped

for jailed fighters.

Boko Haram seized them from a school in the

northern Borno state on 14 April.

"We have shared commercial satellite imagery

with the Nigerians and are flying manned ISR

(intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance)

assets over Nigeria with the government's

permission," said a senior administration

official, who declined to be named.

A team of about 30 US experts – members of

the FBI and defence and state departments – is

in Nigeria to help with the search.

The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan in Washington

says the types of aircraft deployed have not

been revealed, but the US has sophisticated

planes that can listen into a wide range of

mobile phone and telecommunications traffic.

Looking for clues

Other officials, quoted by Reuters, said the US

was also considering deploying unmanned

"drone" aircraft to aid the search.

US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki

said earlier on Monday that intelligence

experts were closely examining the Boko

Haram video for clues that might help locate

the girls.

Pogu Bitrus, a leader in the town of Chibok,

from where the girls were seized, said

vegetation in the video resembled that in the

nearby Sambisa forest reserve.

The video showed some 136 girls wearing bulky

hijabs. Militants said they had "converted" to

Islam.

The girls' families have said that most of those

seized are Christians.

Two girls on the video singled out for

questioning said they were Christians but had

converted to Islam.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the

girls could be exchanged for "our brethren in

your prison".

"I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see

them again until you release our brothers that

you have captured," he said.

[BBC]

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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