The president informed Congress today that approximately 80 “combat-armed” U.S. service members have been sent to North Africa to assist in the rescue of more than 200 young Nigerian women who were kidnapped last month. Based in Chad, “These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” Obama said in his letter. “The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.”
NBC reports that the mission consists of 40 people who will operate a Predator drone in the search, while the other half will protect the drone team. “This action has been directed in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” Obama said, citing the War Powers Resolution in his announcement. “I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.”
This week, Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has taken responsibility for the mass abduction, has assaulted three additional villages and bombed the city of Jos, killing at least 166 people.
A Boko Haram victim from the girls’ village, now living in the U.S., spoke to the House Foreign Affairs Committee today. “I decided to tell the world my story when the Chibok girls were taken because everyone needs to know how horrible Boko Haram is,” said the teenager, whose father and brother were murdered in front of her three years ago. “They kill innocent people who never hurt them.”