Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Britain in talks to help rescue Nigerian schoolgirls




The UK Government says it is talking with Nigerian security forces over how to back rescue attempts, and is ready to give "practical assistance”
Britain is in talks with Nigerian security forces to help rescue hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls still missing three weeks after they were seized by a militant Islamist group, the Government said.
London said it stood ready to give “practical assistance” as Nigerian troops were reported to be massing around a forest where at least 223 teenage girls are thought to be held after a night raid on their dormitories.
The Nigerian government has faced fierce domestic criticism for its impotent response to the kidnapping and desperate parents have demanded it seek foreign aid if necessary to rescue their daughters.
Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister, has called on Britain to help free the girls and even offer military assistance, while America’s top diplomat, John Kerry, said at the weekend the US would do “everything possible” to assist.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “If we can provide practical assistance we stand ready to do so. We are discussing how we might help with various parts of the Nigerian government and security services.”

Officials declined to say what British help might include. Britian has spent millions of pounds on military aid to the country in recent years, including sending troops to training Nigerian forces to secure oil fields and fight terrorism. UK special forces have also operated in the country before, including a 2012 failed bid by Special Boat Service commandos to rescue British hostage Chris McManus.
Britain offered help as pressure intensified on the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, to free the girls seized from a school in Chibok when it was attacked by Boko Haram militants on April 14.
In an address to the nation, Mr Jonathan vowed to rescue the girls but said Nigerians were "justified" in their anger at the government's response.
"This is a trying time for this country," he said, adding that he was seeking help from the US, Britain and other world powers.
Mr Jonathan met through the night with security, school and state officials to tell them “everything must be done” to free the girls, an aide said.

Source: The Telegraph

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