Will support “operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.”
The White House said Wednesday that the United States has deployed approximately 80 Armed Forces personnel to Chad “as part of the U.S. efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria,” according to a letter sent to lawmakers.
The United States deployed 80 members of its armed forces to Chad to help in the search for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, the White House said Wednesday.
“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” it said in a letter.
“The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.”
President Barack Obama informed the House speaker and the president of the Senate of the move.
The forces will be involved in maintaining aircraft and analyzing data, but because they are armed, the President is required by law to inform the speaker of the House, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
“These are not combat infantry troops that we put into Chad,” Kirby told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on Wednesday. “These are folks that are there to support the reconnaissance mission.”
(View the letter from the White House to Congress here)
Some U.S. personnel have already been working with authorities in Nigeria to “advise and assist” in the search, as was reported early last week.
CNN additionally reports that a U.S. drone will now also assist with the search.
A U.S. Predator drone will now be aiding in the search for the girls, a Pentagon official told CNN. Half of the new group of U.S. troops will be operating the launch and recovery of the unarmed drone on its missions, and half of them will be providing security on the ground in Chad.
More than 200 girls were abducted from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in April.
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