US scales back Nigerian surveillance flights

The United States has scaled back its surveillance flights in the search for nearly 300 girls kidnapped earlier this year by Islamic extremists in Nigeria.

Flights are now being conducted on an “intermittent” basis as other nations have increased their support and additional intelligence has been gathered, a senior U.S. defense official told Reuters.

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"We had substantial initial coverage for the baseline, and we’ve moved into a maintenance mode,” the official said.

The U.S. is helping the Nigerian government locate the schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram in April. President Obama deployed a team of U.S. military and law enforcement personnel to the Nigerian capital of Abuja and another 80 troops to the neighboring country of Chad to aid rescue efforts.

The search for the missing girls grabbed international headlines and sparked a global social media campaign on Twitter that saw public figures, including first lady Michelle Obama, promote the hash tag #Bringbackourgirls to draw attention to the crisis.

Lawmakers have also passed resolutions condemning the extremist group for the mass kidnapping.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to continued the search, saying that “nothing is more important to me than finding and rescuing our girls,” in an opinion piece published Friday in The Washington Post.

“My government and our security and intelligence services have spared no resources, have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home and the thugs who took them are brought to justice,” he said.

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