On Sunday, Nigeria's Defense Chief said military troops have located nearly 300 school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in April. Nigerian officials did not say where the girls were found, but said force cannot be used to rescue the girls.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that eighty U.S. military personnel were deployed to Chad to assist in the search for the hundreds of school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria on April 14. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was forced to accept international assistance earlier in May, and several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Japan and Israel had already joined in the search for the missing girls.
Air Marshal Alex Barde on Sunday told demonstrators supporting the country's much criticized military that Nigerian troops can save the girls, however, Barde added:
"we can't go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back."
In November, 2013, the United State Department of State designated Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security describes Boko Haram as a Nigeria-based militant group with links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians in multiple suicide attacks on churches, seeking "to eradicate Christians" from areas in Nigeria, in addition to newspapers, government officials, and security forces.
The U.S. State Department has been criticized for refusing to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the high-profile suicide attack that targeted the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in August, 2011. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen.
The Nigerian government has faced national and international outrage over their failure to rescue the girls taken from a remote northeastern school six weeks ago. Local residents and parents of the missing school girls said they reported the location of the militants and the girls in the days after the kidnapping, but security forces did not respond.
Human rights groups have documented widespread abuses by Nigerian forces over the last few years, including the burning of homes and farm buildings, shooting suspected Boko Haram members as revenge for attacks on police, and detaining young men indefinitely without trial. Sarah Margon, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch said Nigerian military and police are not disciplined and are very abusive.
A 1997 law known as the Leahy Amendment, prohibits American forces from working with foreign military units that have been accused of chronic human rights violations. The Leahy Amendment limits the U.S.government's options, and has prevented U.S. officials from dealing with a Nigerian counter-terrorism unit that has experience tracking Boko Haram, officials said.