By Justin Sink - 05/06/14 05:35 PM EDT
President Obama vowed the U.S. government would do everything it could to help the Nigerian government find hundreds of teenage school girls who have been kidnapped by the Boko Haram organization in a series of interviews from the White House Tuesday.
"We’ve already sent in a team to Nigeria – they’ve accepted our help through a combination of military, law enforcement, and other agencies who are going in, trying to identify where in fact these girls might be and provide them help,” Obama told ABC News.
Describing the kidnapping as "heartbreaking" and "outrageous," Obama said in a separate interview with CBS News that "as the father of two girls, I can’t imagine what the parents are going through."
"We're going to do everything we can to assist them in recovering these young women," he said.
Obama said the U.S. had always identified the group "as one of the worst local or regional terrorist organizations there is out there" in a third interview with NBC News. Obama sat for a series of interviews with meteorologists Tuesday afternoon as part of his bid to promote a new White House climate change report.
"In the short term our goal is to help the international community and the Nigerian government as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies, but we're also going to have to deal with the broader problems of organizations like this that can cause such havoc," Obama said.
All 20 female senators wrote President Obama a letter Tuesday condemning the kidnapping and calling for "tough economic sanctions" against Boko Haram. Some lawmakers, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), have called for the deployment of special forces — something the U.S. has so far resisted.
Obama predicted the international outrage inspired by the kidnappings could mobilize the world against Boko Haram.
“You’ve got one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations in Boko Haram in Nigeria, they’ve been killing people ruthlessly for many years now and we’ve already been seeking greater cooperation with the Nigerians – this may be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization that’s perpetrated such a terrible crime,” Obama told ABC.