There are indications that the Special Forces of the United States Marines have sited the over 234 school girls that were abducted on April 14 from Government Girls’ Secondary School, GGSS, Chibok, Borno State, by Boko Haram sect.
The abducted girls were part of the 250 students boarded at the school for the West African School Certificate, WASC/ Senior Secondary School Certificate, SSSC, examinations.
The incident which has triggered world-wide condemnations, led to the arrival of US military officials in Nigeria yesterday to join local officials in the search and rescue of the girls.
The UK team had earlier arrived in Abuja to support Nigerian government in its response to the abduction of the school girls.
The arrival of the foreign troops is coming on the heels of the appeal yesterday by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar for Nigerians to unite and fight the insurgents to achieve success.
According to Kerry, “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”.
John Kirby, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, who serves as Pentagon press secretary, was quoted as saying that the small team of seven would join advisers supporting local efforts to find the girls abducted over three weeks ago.
Kerry said the US team, working with the Nigerian government, would do everything possible to free the girls and everything possible to stop the atrocities of Boko Haram.
“We are also going to do everything possible to counter the menace of Boko Haram. The entire world should not only be condemning this outrage but should be doing everything possible to help Nigeria in the days ahead” he said.
But Mr. Kirby disclosed that there are no plans to send American combat troops into Nigeria.
The abduction of the school girls in Chibok, a remote community in Borno State, has been described as one of the most shocking terrorist acts by Boko Haram, and it has drawn widespread anger around the world with calls for a swift action.
President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday said that the kidnapping will be the beginning of the end of Boko Haram in the country, while US President Barack Obama has said he hopes the abduction by Boko Haram will galvanize the international community to act against the brutal group that has directed much of its cruelty on civilians and the innocent.
This week, over 100 people were killed in a busy market by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram sect. The attack occurred in Gamboru Ngala, Borno State, near the Nigerian border with Cameroon.
Apart from the United States, Britain, France and China have also offered to help rescue the stolen girls.Obama said the team sent to Nigeria comprised personnel from military, law enforcement and other agencies.
France on their own part said it will station 3,000 troops in Nigeria’s neighbouring countries to help fight militants in the Sahel region.
British satellites and advanced tracking capabilities also will be used, and China has promised to provide any intelligence gathered by its satellite network.
Meanwhile the Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson in a statement yesterday said” “a team of UK experts who will advise and support the Nigerian authorities in its response to the abduction of over 200 school girls touched down in Abuja, Nigeria this morning”.
The team is drawn from across government, including DfID, FCO and the MoD, and will work with the Nigerian authorities leading on the abductions and terrorism in Nigeria. The team will be considering not just the recent incidents but also longer-term counter-terrorism solutions to prevent such attacks in the future and defeat Boko Haram.
The team will be working closely with their US counterparts and others to coordinate efforts.
However, military sources said that apart from abducting the girls, the insurgents also carted away food items and vehicles as well as killing undisclosed number of people in Chibok on that fateful night.
A source in Abuja said that members of the United States Marines who are already in Maiduguri following the promise by the US President to help Nigeria in rescuing the abducted girls, located the girls inside the forest, using some Satellite equipment which combed the forest, located an assembly of the young girls and sent the images back to the Marines on ground in Maiduguri.
Beside locating the girls in the dense forest, it was also, further gathered that one of the leaders of terrorist group who participated in the abduction of the girls was arrested by a combined team of the US Marines and Nigerian forces.
Sources said that the Boko Haram leader was arrested, through an advanced interceptor equipment which was used to track the terrorist while exchanging information with his colleagues in Sambisa Forest about the movements of American and Nigerian soldiers in Maiduguri.
The source said the suspect’s phone was traced to a location in Maiduguri where he was arrested and handed over to the Nigerian military.
The location of the girls in the forest is contrary to widespread reports that the girls had been distributed and ferried to the Nigerian border towns in Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
Senator Ahmed Zanna, representing Borno Central District in whose Maiduguri home, an alleged Boko Haram top commander was once arrested told the Senate last week that he gave the Military an up-to-date information on how the girls could be rescued, but lamented that his information was ignored.
He spoke against the backdrop of the claim by the Boko Haram leader, Sheik Abubakar Shekau, last week that the girls were booties of war, who would be sold into slavery.