"These people don't reason like normal human beings"

Last Updated May 9, 2014 4:33 AM EDT

ABUJA, Nigeria -- An American team was expected on the ground in Nigeria to help in the search for more than 200 teenage girls kidnapped from their school in a remote village.

The Islamic terror group Boko Haram has threatened to sell them into slavery.

The kidnappings have completely overshadowed the World Economic Forum, which is taking place in Abuja. Even President Goodluck Jonathan is feeling the heat. He used his opening address to say the kidnappings marked the beginning of the end of terror in Nigeria. But for the families of those missing girls in Chibok, there is no end in sight.

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CBS News

The classrooms are empty, looted. The charred remains of the school in Chibok are a stark reminder of the kidnapped schoolgirls, missing now for 25 days.

Villagers wait for any word from their daughters' kidnappers -- anything is better than silence.

Al Jazeera English interviewed a mother who said she would give up her life to have her daughter freed.

"They should go into my house, burn my house, break everything inside my house if they give my daughter back," she said."That would be better for me."

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The villagers wait for any news of the missing girls
CBS News

Well armed Islamic militants from Boko Haram herded more than 200 girls into trucks and drove off. The group has terrorized villages like Chibok for over a decade, and their attacks have become increasingly violent. Twice the government has attempted to broker a peace deal. Twice they have failed.

Activist Shehu Sani was part of the negotiations both times. He warns that any military operation to rescue the girls is risky.

"These people do not reason like normal human beings," Sani said. "Any attempt to use force to free these girls will end up in a very tragic circumstance."

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The kidnapped girls are have been missing for 25 days
CBS News

Sani told us he thinks the girls may be held hostage in the dense Sambesia forest northeast of Chibok.

He fears the group's growing extremism against Nigeria's government.

"They have a mission to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state," he said.

Why does Sani believe the girls are still being held together?

He seems to think the girls are being held in one large group possibly to be used as a potential prisoner swap with Boko Haram militants being held in Nigerian jails.

But U.S. intelligence sources seem to think the girls have already been split up into smaller groups and possibly even taken across the borders into neighboring countries, complicating any efforts to find them.

When the kidnappings occurred, there were 11 U.S. Green Berets in Nigeria on a regularly scheduled training mission.

There are restrictions on how much help the Pentagon can give to the Nigerian military because that nation is considered a human rights violator.

  • Debora Patta

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