ALMOST one month into the deployment of the various foreign assistance teams to Nigeria, there are concerns over the lack of communication between them and their Nigerian counterparts on the fate of the over 200 school girls abducted on April 14, 2014 by Boko Haram terrorists. The euphoria that greeted their coming with the high expectations that it will change the dynamics of the search and rescue efforts has ebbed.
They have arrived because the abduction of the schoolgirls attracted worldwide condemnation, with world political leaders, celebrities and activists expressing shock and outrage. It became fashionable to join the campaign for their release under the banner of #Bring Back Our Girls.’
The international outrage forced world leaders to express readiness to assist Nigeria, if they so request. President Goodluck Jonathan had come under fire, facing accusations of inertia. He was also berated for failure to seek international assistance. Faced with the anger at home and abroad, President Jonathan requested for foreign assistance, something the Nigerian military and some political leaders had hitherto been reluctant to do. Their coming was a lease of fresh air to the slow response of the Nigerian military in rescuing the school girls.
Nigeria specifically asked for intelligence and equipment to help trace the location of the Chibok girls. The request for assistance by the foreign militaries was sought because the Nigerian military is down in terms of equipment holdings in the area of sophisticated surveillance platforms.
President Jonathan, spoke with his British Prime Minister, David Cameron on the phone, requesting for the deployment of British Satellite Imaging capabilities and advanced tracking technologies to boost the outcome of the search. Several countries pledged to send military experts, spy planes and intelligence experts to assist the Nigerian military in the rescue mission.
Among countries that pledged assistance were the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, China and Israel. The United States deployed an Interdisciplinary Team for Assistance working with their Nigerian counterparts in the areas of security, communications and intelligence. It also deployed 80 troops to Chad. The troops will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area, using at least one drone. The UK also sent a Sentinel spy plane in addition to its team of experts.
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