November 23, 2014
Nigerian gov't optimistic about finding abducted schoolgirls
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said international military and intelligence assistance made him optimistic about finding 200 schoolgirls abducted last month by Islamic militants in an attack condemned globally.
Israel became the latest country to offer help to Nigeria since April 14 when militants from Boko Haram stormed a secondary school in the northeastern village of Chibok and seized 276 girls who were taking exams. Some managed to escape but around 200 remain missing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office gave no details of its proposed assistance but Jonathan said Netanyahu offered during a phone conversation to send a team of counter-terrorism experts.
The United States and Britain have flown in experts and this, coupled with the deployment by Nigeria of two army divisions to the border region, signals that the search effort is gathering pace.
In turn, French President Francois Hollande has offered to host a summit in Paris next Saturday with Nigeria and its neighbours focused on the militant group.
But it comes against a backdrop of sharp criticism of Jonathan's government for responding too slowly to the crisis.
Jonathan is "very optimistic that with the entire international community deploying its considerable military and intelligence-gathering skills and assets in support of Nigeria's efforts ... success will soon be achieved," a statement from State House in Abuja said.