The White House has announced 80 U.S. troops have been deployed to Chad to bolster efforts to find the Nigerian schoolgirls taken hostage by the radical Islamic group Boko Haram.
The force, made up largely of Air Force personnel, will conduct surveillance flights and operate drone aircraft but will not participate in ground searches, according to U.S. military officials.
In early May 2014, the Pentagon dispatched a team of eight experts to the Nigerian capital to help search for the more than 200 schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram. They are working with an estimated two dozen U.S. law enforcement and intelligence personnel advising the Nigerian government on the recovery effort. The U.S. has also deployed drones to search regions of Nigeria where is believed the radical group may be holding the girls.
U.S. officials have said that the search is a difficult one. The area they suspect the girls may be held in is reportedly the size of West Virginia.
Boko Haram has turned out to be a formidable adversary for the Nigerian military and officials. Paul Lubeck, a sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz who has done extensive research in Nigeria said this about the group.
"These guys are better organized, more highly motivated and have better arms than the Nigerian military,"
The professor's comments mirror recent actions by the militant organization. They are seemingly carrying out attacks at will in Nigeria while local and national military and police seem to be playing catch-up.
We have an in-depth report on Boko Haram HERE