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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nigerian Girls Missing, Thought To Be Sold: What the White House Says Its Doing To Help

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" Gloria Steinem

Just two months after the world celebrated International Women's Day, we find that more than 200 Nigerian girls have been kidnapped and thought to be sold by the infamous Islamic Jihadist group, Boko Haram.

Nigeria is calling for the help of all nations to help in finding and releasing the young girls, many of whom are under the age of seventeen.

During conversations at yesterday's White House press briefing, the subject of what the United States is doing to assist Nigeria in the search and rescue efforts to find the missing girls and bring them home, Press Secretary Carney stated, "What I can tell you is that we view what has happened there as an outrage and a terrible tragedy.  The President has been briefed several times and his national security team continues to monitor the situation there closely.  The State Department has been in regular touch with the Nigerian government about what we might do to help support its efforts to find and free these young women."


Even First Lady Michelle Obama is making a statement, tweeting "Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It's time to #BringBackOurGirls." -mo

On Tuesday, the White House says it is prepared to send a team of 'advisors' and 'negotiators' to Nigeria to assist the country with rescue efforts.

Here are excerpts from that exchange.

     Q    And also, there have been some calls today for the Nigerian President to accept international help that’s now been offered by the U.S. and by Britain.  Does the White House feel like Nigeria is open to the help that is out there?  And is it cooperating with efforts coming from elsewhere?

     MR. CARNEY:  I’m glad you asked, because this morning, Secretary Kerry called Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to reiterate our offer of assistance.  President Jonathan welcomed Secretary Kerry’s offer to send a team to Nigeria to discuss how the United States can best support Nigeria in its response to this horrific event, these kidnappings. 

Our embassy is prepared to form an interdisciplinary team that could provide expertise on intelligence investigations and hostage negotiations, could help facilitate information sharing and provide victim assistance.  It would include U.S. military personnel, law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations, as well as officials with expertise in other areas that may be helpful to the Nigerian government in its response.  President Obama has directed that we do everything we can to help the Nigerian government find and free these girls.  The President and Secretary Kerry will discuss this very issue in their meeting later today.
 Q    Can I follow up on that?

     MR. CARNEY:  Yes, Ann.
     Q    Are you saying that the United States is actually going to send an additional -- offer of personnel?  Seven months ago, when President Obama and President Jonathan sat down together in New York, President Obama said that we want to be cooperative in the process of building the capacity inside of Nigeria to deal with this dangerous group.

     MR. CARNEY:  With Boko Haram.

     Q    Yes. 

     MR. CARNEY:  Well, that is certainly the case.

     Q    What has happened in the last --

     MR. CARNEY:  This is in addition to -- this is the product of a conversation that Secretary Kerry had with the Nigerian President this morning, where he reiterated our offer of assistance.  And President Jonathan welcomed Secretary Kerry’s offer to send a team to Nigeria to discuss how the U.S. can help Nigeria in its response to this specific incident.  So this would be a team that would be focused on this issue, not just on the broader Boko Haram challenge that Nigeria faces. 

     Q    How would the United States assess what the Nigerian government has done so far?  Has it been enough?

     MR. CARNEY:  Well, what I can tell you is that it is certainly Nigeria’s responsibility to maintain the safety and security of its citizens.  These girls were captured and kidnapped 22 days ago and time is of the essence.  Appropriate action must be taken to locate and to free these young women before they are trafficked or killed.

     We urge the Nigerian government to ensure that it is bringing all appropriate resources to bear in a concerted effort to ensure their safe return.  We are absolutely committed to helping Nigeria, but it is the Nigerian government’s responsibility, first and foremost, to maintain the safety and security of its citizens.  And we urge the Nigerian government to take action to ensure that it is bringing all appropriate resources to bear in the effort to find them and free them.

     Q    There are U.S. forces on the ground in Africa looking for Joseph Kony.  Can you imagine American resources being used in that kind of sense? 

     MR. CARNEY:  Well, we’re not considering at this point military resources.  We would urge Nigeria to ensure that any operation to free the girls would protect civilians and human rights. 

Congresswomen united, appeal for safe return of Nigerian girls.  "There's a special place in hell" for Boko Haram.

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