WASHINGTON — The U.S. team that is in Nigeria assisting the government in its search for nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls is made up of nearly 30 people drawn from the State and Defense departments, as well as the FBI, the White House said Monday.
Spokesman Jay Carney said the team includes five State Department officials, including a team leader, two strategic communications experts, a civil security expert and a regional medical support officer. Four FBI officials with expertise in safe recovery, negotiations and preventing future kidnappings are also part of the group.
The Pentagon said 16 Defense Department personnel are on the team, including planners and advisers who were already in Nigeria and have been redirected to assist the government. Also on the team are DoD personnel who were sent to Nigeria from AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command based in Germany.
Some 276 girls remain missing after they were kidnapped from their school dormitory in remote northeastern Nigeria on April 15 by the Boko Haram terrorist group. The group’s leader said in a new video received Monday by The Associated Press that the young women will not be seen again until the government frees his detained fighters.
U.S. officials have seen the video and are reviewing it, Carney said.
“We have no reason to question its authenticity,” he said. “Our intelligence experts are combing over every detail of it for clues that might help in the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls.”
The U.S. is among several nations providing technical support to the Nigerian government.