NIGERIA: U.S. surveillance plane says Chibok missing girls sited

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Mothers of Boko Haram kidnapped girls street rally
Mothers of the Boko Haram kidnapped girls and supporters march in the streets of Abuja, Nigeria in May 2014 to send a message that they want the government to act quickly as they continue to hope for some type of rescue. But rescue has stalled as Nigeria’s government continues to say no to a prisoner for girls swap. Image: Deji Yake/EPA

(WNN) Denver, Colorado, U.S., AMERICAS: While more details in recent sightings are not completely confirmed yet, the Wall Street Journal has reported that two separate groups of the missing girl students of Chibok, Nigeria may have been spotted from the air by a U.S. surveillance plane in the northeastern Nigerian region largely controlled by Boko Haram.

In the month of July two separate sightings indicate that what is thought to be approximately 70 girls were photographed by an air surveillance flight operation as a group of girls was spotted together in a field in the northeastern forest region of Nigeria. Another U.S. surveillance flight also spotted up to 40 girls in a separate, but regionally close location on a separate date.

This may be good news for the parents of the girls who have been waiting since last April for word of their daughters. But Nigerian officials, including President Goodluck Jonathan, continue to talk rescue without acting. To date the President has refused to negotiate a Boko Haram bid to swap the girls for Nigerian prisoners who are connected to the armed militia.

Aid to Nigeria to find the girls was offered in a cooperative effort by the United States, along with the United Kingdom, Canada, France and neighboring countries in Africa last May, but to date none of the missing girl students have specifically been rescued by Nigerian, neighboring African or foreign agents. Some of the girls did manage to escape Boko Haram on their own early after being kidnapped as they returned back to their families.

One girl jumped off the truck as the Chibok girls were being taken away. Another girl made a ‘run for it’ with a small group of other girls once the Boko Haram militia had brought them to the girl’s first base camp last April. From there they received temporary shelter and returned home.

But the return of these girl students has not brought rescue to the remaining girls as parents continue to feel frustration and grief.

“Boko Haram is more than a domestic terrorist group.  The group is a threat to regional peace and security.  This much was affirmed by the Special Summit on Security in Nigeria, hosted by President Francoise Hollande in Paris in May, 2014,” said President Goodluck Jonathan during the U.S. African Leaders Summit August 5-6 in Washington D.C.

“We now know that this insurgent group has grown into the Nigerian wing of Al-Qaeda with its international network linking terrorist groups in the Sahel and Mali and Al-Shabaab in Somalia.  Nigeria may be the epicentre of Boko Haram terrorist activities at the moment, but its affiliation with international terrorist networks, dramatically increases its capacity and reach beyond Nigeria’s borders,” the Nigerian President added.

As attacks from Boko Haram have increased, Christian organizations in the northern region of Nigeria have conveyed that they have been increasing targets under growing numerous attacks by Boko Haram units. Most recently on August 4 attacks have resulted in killings and the burning down of five churches in the Hawal Local Government Area in Borno State, outlines the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Strings of moderate Muslim communities have also been attacked by the extremist militia.

Continued pressure on the Office of the President in his bid for re-election next February 2015 may change the bargaining chips with stepped-up actions to officially secure the release of the girls through a prisoner for girls swap.

In the meantime the campaign movement to #Bringbackourgirls has slowed internationally, but is now showing signs of a resurgence.

At this point is unknown if actions to secure the freedom of the Chibok schoolgirls may be part of a desire by Jonathan to win a renewal of his presidency or if it will be an attempt by the President in earnest to keep promises made by his administration.


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