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Nigeria Asks for Canada's Assistance to Search for Schoolgirls Kidnapped by Islamic Terror Group

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | May 8, 2014 3:15 PM EST

Nigeria has asked for Canada's help with 'surveillance equipment and other vital security hardware" so that 276 kidnapped schoolgirls could be located. Boko Haram, the Islamic insurgents responsible for terrorising the country for over five years, claimed responsibility for kidnapping the schoolgirls.

REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Women rest after a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained. Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon.

According to Nigerian Vice President Namadi Sambo, the government "was anxious to put an end to the menace" of the Islamic insurgency for the last five years. The Islamic terror group has reportedly killed over 1,500 people in 2014 alone. While the group boasted of kidnapping the schoolgirls, it also threatened that the girls would be sold into slavery. It has been three weeks since the kidnapping. Sambo asked for support from Canada, while he said that "'as we approach elections, we should not play politics with serious matters of state such as security."

CTV News reported that Sambo's request for help was made when Canadian International Development Minister Christian Paradis was in his Abuja office. Paradis and Sambo discussed about the forthcoming general elections in 2015. Additionally, they also talked about resource development as well as the health of mother and child. However, it was not confirmed if Paradis had promised any assurance of helping the Nigerian government with surveillance equipment and other security assistance even though the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Development did confirm Sambo's request.

The Obama government, meanwhile, declared on Tuesday, May 6, that it would help Nigeria in investigating the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. It said that it would send law enforcement officials and military personnel to Nigeria. Former CIA Covert Operations Officer Mike Baker said that it was a step in the right direction that the Nigerian government had started showing willingness to accept outside help to deal with the insurgency. Baker, on the other hand, said that a team of hostage negotiators and investigators from the United States would not be enough to "solve the problem." There should be a "stepped-up effort" to minimise the impact of the insurgent group, he said.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye / )
Women rest after a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained. Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon.
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