The U.S. has deployed 80 Air Force personnel to Nigeria’s neighboring country of Chad where they’ll be conducting surveillance overflights and drone operations, presumably armament free.
The deployment to Chad, one of several countries surrounding Nigeria that are also threatened by Boko Haram, is considered to be a noteworthy escalation in commitment on the part of the U.S.
American troops have been conducting surveillance in the area since May 11th in hopes of locating nearly 300 schoolgirls who have been kidnapped by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram and whose leader has threatened to sell all of the kidnapped girls into slavery.
Pentagon sends U.S. troops to Chad to hunt for missing Nigerian schoolgirls http://t.co/oM7pv6YLSf
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 21, 2014
The White House made the following statement regarding the scope and purpose of the deployment:
“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” the White House said in a statement formally notifying Congress of the deployment. The unit will remain in Chad “until its support resolving the kidnapping is no longer required.”
Meanwhile, Boko Haram killed 48 more Nigerian civilians yesterday in an attack on two villages in Borno State. They stole the villages’ food, and then burned both to the ground after killing men, women, and children alike. This follows a twin bombing in the Nigerian city of Jos that claimed the lives of over 100 individuals shopping in a crowded market there.
Of note too is that the French military currently has around 2,000 troops deployed in Chad where they’ve been assisting that government and in an attempt to quell or contain the violence in the neighboring Central African Republic which has been gripped by a conflict that has, thus far, displaced or claimed the lives of somewhere around 600,000 lives over the last year.