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Nigeria girls’ abduction: US deploys manned planes

www.bbc.com

he US has revealed it is flying manned surveillance missions over Nigeria to try to find more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.The US is also sharing commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerian government, officials said.It comes after militants released a video of about 130 girls, saying they could be swapped for jailed fighters.Boko Haram seized them from a school in the northern Borno state on 14 April.Continue reading the main storyBoko Haram in Nigeria prisons- Several commanders- Hundreds of alleged fighters – not all those jailed are always militants- Wives and children of fighters
Prisoner swaps have been organised before:
– One of the wives of Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau was released in July 2013 along with the wives of other top commanders”We have shared commercial satellite imagery with the Nigerians and are flying manned ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets over Nigeria with the government’s permission,” said a senior administration official, who declined to be named.A team of about 30 US experts – members of the FBI and defence and state departments – is in Nigeria to help with the search.The BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan in Washington says the types of aircraft deployed have not been revealed, but the US has sophisticated planes that can listen into a wide range of mobile phone and telecommunications traffic.Looking for cluesOther officials, quoted by Reuters, said the US was also considering deploying unmanned “drone” aircraft to aid the search.US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier on Monday that intelligence experts were closely examining the Boko Haram video for clues that might help locate the girls. In the video, released by Boko Haram, its leader says the girls will be freed only if imprisoned militants are releasedPogu Bitrus, a leader in the town of Chibok, from where the girls were seized, said vegetation in the video resembled that in the nearby Sambisa forest reserve.The video showed some 136 girls wearing bulky hijabs. Militants said they had “converted” to Islam.The girls’ families have said that most of those seized are Christians.Two girls on the video singled out for questioning said they were Christians but had converted to Islam.Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls could be exchanged for “our brethren in your prison”.Boko Haram released a video of more than 130 kidnapped schoolgirlsBoko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau called for the released of jailed militants”I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured,” he said.

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