US to share intelligence analysis with Nigeria

 

The U.S. has finalized an agreement with the Nigerian government to share U.S. intelligence analysis relating to the more than 200 school girls kidnapped last month by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, the Defense Department announced Monday.

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Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said the agreement covers analysis "specifically related to finding these kidnapped girls," but not raw intelligence.

The shared intelligence would include analysis of images and other data, Warren said.

The agreement, reached over the weekend, represents a formal, if temporary, broadening of security cooperation between the two governments.

Previously, the Pentagon was not sharing any intelligence data with Nigeria. Now, for example, if there are images that would help in the rescue of the girls, that image could be shared.

Last week, a Defense Department official told lawmakers that the Pentagon has to be "exceedingly cautious" about what information it shares with Nigeria's leaders due to its forces' history of human rights abuses.

Alice Friend, the Pentagon's principal director for Africa Affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee last week that the abuses have been a “persistent and very troubling limitation on our assistance," and that the Pentagon has “struggled” in the past to find Nigerian units it can coordinate with.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration assembled a team of about 30 U.S. officials from the FBI and Defense and State departments to help track the schoolgirls, and sent manned and unmanned drones to help in the effort.

The Pentagon said there are 12 members of a California National Guard unit training a Nigerian ranger battalion for about a month from mid-May to mid-June but that the training is not related to counterterrorism.

—Martin Matishak contributed.