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US To Assist Nigeria In Rescue Of Chibok Girls

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The US government has offered to assist Nigeria locate and rescue the girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, abducted three weeks ago in by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect.

Accepting the offer on Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria would appreciate any support that would be given in ending the insurgency in Nigeria's north east, reiterating a statement he made during a media chat on Sunday.

A statement by a spokesman for the president, Ruben Abati, said President Jonathan welcomed and accepted the offer.

'The offer from President Barack Obama which was conveyed to President Jonathan by the United States Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry in a telephone conversation, which began at 15.30 Hours On Tuesday, includes the deployment of U.S. security personnel and assets to work with their Nigerian counterparts in the search and rescue operation.

'Mr Kerry assured President Jonathan that the United States' is wholly committed to giving Nigeria all required support and assistance to save the abducted girls and bring the reign of terror unleashed on parts of the country by Boko Haram to an end,' the statement read.

President Jonathan thanked Mr Kerry for the call and offer of further assistance and told him that Nigeria's security agencies, who were already working at full capacity to find and rescue the abducted girls, would appreciate the deployment of American counter-insurgency know-how and expertise in support of their efforts.

After speaking with the United States Secretary of State, President Jonathan on Tuesday met with the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and heads of national security agencies in continuation of the national efforts to find and rescue the abducted girls.

He also received updates on the ongoing search and rescue efforts, and gave approval for further actions as recommended.

The terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in Nigeria's north-east. Scores have been killed in bomb attacks, with the latest attack on Chibok on April 14 resulting in the abduction of over 200 girls of a secondary school. The abduction occurred same day that the members of the sect carried out a bomb attack on a Motor Park in Nyanya area of Abuja. The attack left at least 70 persons dead and over 200 injured.

The abduction of the girls has sparked protests in Abuja, Lagos and some other states, with the protesters mounting pressure on the government to take drastic action in efforts to rescue the girls.

Last week a bomb blast also occurred in Nyenya few meters away from where the blast of April 14 occurred. at least 19 persons were killed while over 60 were injured.

The Nigerian government had declared a state of emergency in three states in the north east in an effort to quell the increasing insurgency. But many are saying that the state of emergency has not changed the situation.

The recent attacks in Abuja raised fears of insecurity as the nation prepares to hold the World Economic Forum on Africa from Mar 7-9, but President Jonathan during the media chat reassured the international community of the government's commitment to the safety of participants.

Ahead of the Forum, there is increase in Police presence in Abuja and surrounding villages.