U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is offering to assist law enforcement in Nigerian as they continue their search for more than 250 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Islamist militants.
Holder has also ordered an intelligence assessment of the Boko Haram, the group claiming responsibility for the abductions.
The group, whose name means “Western education is sin,” receives training from al Qaeda and its affiliates.
“Let me be clear,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday during a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. “The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes.”
On April 14, members of Boko Haram invaded a boarding school in Nigeria, pulled 276 girls from their beds and packed them into trucks. At least 53 girls have escaped, while the rest are allegedly being sold as brides to local militants for $12, according to the girls’ relatives.
Abubakar Shekau, a man claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram, took credit for the kidnapping in a video obtained Monday by Agence France-Press and said he is selling the girls as wives to prevent them from receiving a Western education.
Nigerian government officials say they are “handling the situation.” Nearly three weeks after the kidnapping, they appear to be no further in finding the missing girls than they were in the beginning.
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people since 2009 in the country. It receives the bulk of its funding from bank robberies and other criminal activities, including extortion and kidnapping for ransoms.
It is unclear whether Nigeria plans to accept Holder’s offer.
Check back for updates.
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