Is Nigeria incapable of partnering with U.S. in bid to rescue missing girls?

On Capitol Hill, concern for hundreds of Nigerian kidnapped girls is clashing with a harsh reality -- that their would-be rescuers in the Nigerian military might not be capable of finding them, reports CBS News' Nancy Cordes.

"I don't yet believe that the Nigerian military is in a position for us to fully partner with them in this search," said Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, who will be chairing the first Congressional hearing Thursday on the Nigerian kidnappings by terror group Boko Haram.

The concern is that the U.S. might be providing assets that the weak Nigerian government isn't capable of utilizing properly, and that could prevent the U.S. from offering more help, particularly military assistance.

According to the administration, there are now close to 30 specialized American personnel advising Nigeria's government, with 17 from the Department of Defense providing guidance on satellite reconnaissance, four from the FBI with expertise in negotiations and safe recovery of kidnapping victims and five officials from the State Department. However, none of them, the White House said, is taking the lead in the search.

"The girls were abducted in Nigeria. They are Nigerian, and it's entirely appropriate that Nigeria would lead the effort to find them," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Administration officials say lawmakers calling for U.S. special forces to be sent in are ignoring a simple fact: No one knows where the girls are.

"I have seen no intelligence come back that I am aware of that shows that we've located those girls," Secretary of State Chuck Hagel said while traveling in the Middle East.

The White House said it is using satellite imagery, drones and manned surveillance flights to search for the girls.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The Newsroom