Top US general arrives in Nigeria to help find missing girls
By Rafiu Ajakaye, Wednesday, May 14, 2014
LAGOS – Head of U.S. Africa Command Gen. David Rodriguez has arrived in Nigeria as part of global efforts to help find and rescue scores of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants.
In a Tuesday statement, the Nigerian Defense Ministry said that Chief of Defense Staff Alex Badeh met with Rodriguez, describing relations between the two countries as "mutual" and "strategic".
Badeh said Nigerian Navy has received a number of operational equipment and support, as part of U.S. support to the Nigerian military in combating oil theft and other maritime threats, according to the statement.
The Chief of the Defense Staff hailed the U.S. for "responding positively to the call for assistance in the search and rescue of the abducted school girls".
A source at Nigerian defense headquarters had earlier told Anadolu Agency that Rodriguez had arrived in Nigeria on Monday to discuss ongoing efforts to rescue scores of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants.
"There has also been a meeting of military experts, especially from the U.S., Britain and Nigeria, and I can tell you that full-scale operations may begin in the next hours or day," the source said.
"What we are doing now is intelligence gathering; we are making progress," he added.
The source, however, declined to confirm whether U.S. drones were now operating in Nigerian airspace with the ostensible aim of aiding the search efforts.
"I am not going to comment on this," he said.
Scores of schoolgirls were abducted last month when Boko Haram militants stormed a school in the town of Chibok, located on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest.
The abductions have triggered global outrage, with several countries joining Nigerian efforts to rescue the girls.
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