According to Reuters, Nigerian security forces have reportedly deployed two divisions to hunt for 200 schoolgirls abducted last month by Boko Haram rebels in an attack condemned globally.
The soldiers are stationed in the border region close to Chad, Cameroon and Niger to work with other security agencies, said General Chris Olukolade, spokesman for the Defence Headquarters.
The government of President Goodluck Jonathan has faced overwhelming criticism for its slow response since Boko Haram militants stormed a secondary school in the village of Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on April 14, and abducted the girls, who were taking exams. Fifty escaped, but more than 200 remain with the insurgents.
The Nigerian Air Force has reportedly flown more than 250 sorties, a signals unit and the police are involved and a multinational task force has also been activated and surveillance equipment is deployed in support of ten search teams, he said.
COMMENT: As I have said previously, those nations who have offered assistance to Nigeria are a bit late in the game in terms of having any reasonable expectation of finding the missing girls inside Nigeria.
In actuality, the nations who have offered help should have done so covertly so that they would have the benefit of surprise once they arrived in Nigeria.
Strangely, most countries, including the US, fail in the Global War on Terrorism simply because the first call they make is to the media. Not good.
Whatever happened to law enforcement agencies "saying very little"?
The United States, Britain, France, China and INTERPOL have all offered assistance, although media organizations have not detailed to what extent foreign entities are actually deployed inside Nigeria.
The mass hostage-taking of upwards of 200 school-girls between the ages of sixteen and eighteen are reportedly in the Sambisa area of Borno state, a Boko Haram stronghold near the school from where the girls were abducted, yet no sightings of the kidnap victims have been reported.
Boko Haram's fight for an Islamic state has killed upwards of 10,000 Nigerians since it appeared on the scene in 2009.
The global outrage over the attack has shone a spotlight on the rebellion and institutional challenges faced by the government and military just as Nigeria's economy has overtaken South Africa's as the biggest on the continent.
Human rights group, Amnesty International, said in a statement, citing multiple interviews with sources, that the security forces had been warned more than four hours in advance of the school attack, but failed to prevent the mass-hostage-taking.