White House confirms reconnaissance flights in Nigeria
By Michael Hernandez, Wednesday, May 14, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House confirmed on Tuesday that it would supplement the Nigerian search and rescue efforts for nearly 300 school girls captured by Boko Haram with manned reconnaissance flights.
Militants from the Islamist group kidnapped an estimated 276 schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State nearly a month ago.
Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, said that, in addition to a team of interagency experts from law enforcement and the military, the U.S.’ assistance “also includes manned reconnaissance flights that I can confirm we are conducting in cooperation with the Nigerian government.”
Asked whether the U.S. would support negotiations with Boko Haram over the girls’ release, Carney maintained that Nigerian authorities continue to take the lead in all efforts to deal with the group, but added that “it is the policy of the United States to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, and that includes ransoms or concessions.”
The White House announced last week that U.S. President Barack Obama directed the U.S. government to do everything it can to secure the release of the girls.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan accepted a U.S. offer of assistance to support Nigeria’s rescue effort with an American interagency team last Tuesday.
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