SPONSORED:

US intel studying Boko Haram video for clues to kidnapped schoolgirls

 
American intelligence officials are "combing over” a newly released video purportedly showing some of the hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last month for clues to their whereabouts, the White House said Monday.
 
The U.S. has "no reason to question" the authenticity of the 17-minute video, acquired by Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press, press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
 
“Out intelligence experts are combing over it, every detail of it, for clues that might help in the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls,” Carney said.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The video shows around 100 of the nearly 300 girls, who were taken by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, praying in full-length black veils.
 
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls had converted from Christianity to Islam and offered to trade them in exchange for members of his group imprisoned by the Nigerian government.
 
"If you want us to release your girls we kidnapped, those of them that have not accepted Islam, they are now gathered in numbers. And we treat them well the way the prophet would treat well any infidel he seized,” Shekau says in the video. “They are staying [with us]. We will never release them until our brethren are released.”
 
The U.S. has dispatched a team of military, law enforcement and diplomatic officials, including intelligence and reconnaissance support, to assist the Nigerian government. Carney said the U.S. has more than two-dozen experts "up and running at our embassy in Nigeria.”
 
Ten Defense Department officials, who were already in the country, have been “redirected” to support the ongoing effort, and seven Pentagon advisers from U.S. Africa command have been dispatched to aid the effort, he added.
 
The U.S. has also deployed five State Department officials, including a civilian security expert and a regional medical support officer, and four FBI agents with expertise in “safe recovery, negotiations and preventing future kidnappings.”
 
Carney said he did not have a “catalogue of the equipment” officials were using in their efforts and he stressed the challenges facing the team.
 
“I think it’s important to note that when we talk about assisting in the effort to locate the girls, we are talking about helping the Nigerian government search and area that is roughly the size of New England,” he said.
 
The kidnapping has drawn international condemnation. The first lady delivered her first solo weekly address on Saturday to express her outrage over the kidnapping. She tweeted a call for the safe return of the nearly 300 missing children, including a picture of herself holding a sign with the social media hashtag "#BringBackOurGirls."
 
"The president and first lady and others believe we ought to be doing everything we can to assist the Nigerian government," Carney said.
 
This story was updated at 3:23 p.m.