A second abduction of Nigerian school girls occurred Monday night after the Obama administration said it would dispatch officials to help find the hundreds of girls previously captured by suspected Boko Haram gunmen, Reuters reported. The Islamist militant group has threatened to sell the girls, age 12 to 15, into slavery.
The armed men opened fire during the raid, according to Lazarus Musa, a resident of the town of Warabe. "They were many, and all of them carried guns," Musa told Reuters in a phone interview. "They came in two vehicles painted in army color. They started shooting in our village." The girls, along with looted food and livestock, were taken away on trucks, an unnamed source told the news agency.
This latest wave of kidnappings follows the release on Monday of a video by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in which he claimed he would sell abducted schoolgirls “on the markets.”
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language, is the main security threat to Africa's leading energy producer. The group appears to be growing stronger and is apparently better armed than ever.
It might seem as if the country’s government isn’t doing enough to protect its young girls, but President Goodluck Jonathan did respond sternly to news about the latest kidnappings.
"The president and the government is not taking this as easy as people all over the world think," Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for Nigeria's president, told CNN. "We've done a lot but we are not talking about it. We're not Americans. We're not showing people, you know, but it does not mean that we are not doing something."
Meanwhile, the Hill reported that Secretary of State John Kerry offered to send the “interdisciplinary team” to Nigeria during a phone call with Jonathan, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
The team will "provide expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiations [that] could help facilitate information-sharing and provide victim assistance," he said.
"It would include U.S. military personnel, law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations, as well as officials with expertise in other areas that may be helpful to the Nigerian government in its response," Carney added.