By Martin Matishak - 05/15/14 10:17 AM EDT
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Thursday said the Nigerian government should have taken action sooner to rescue the nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic group Boko Haram last month.
“It took too long for the Nigerian government to respond to the girls’ abduction,” said Coons, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs chairman, at his panel’s hearing on the terror group.
Coons said that "despite being forewarned of a possible attack, reports now indicate that the local and central government did nothing" to protect the young girls.
“Every day that these girls are missing, it becomes less likely that they will be returned home safely,” he added.
The United States has dispatched a team of nearly 30 law enforcement and intelligence experts to Nigeria to aid in the search for the girls. The U.S. has also deployed drones and offered satellite imagery to the government in Abuja.
Some lawmakers, though, are pressing for the White House to take a more active role in the search.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday said the administration should send troops, including special forces, into the African nation with or without the consent of the local government.
White House spokesman Jay Carney pushed back against the suggestion.
The administration is “not actively considering the deployment of U.S. forces,” he said during the daily press briefing.