The news in town is that the United States has offered to help Nigeria in the “search and rescue” operation for the missing girls.
Nigeria has accepted the offer, according to presidential spokesman Rueben Abati.
US President Barack Obama said the US support was a combination of military, law enforcement and other agencies “who are going in, trying to identify where these girls might be”.
The help, according to security sources, will involve sharing of technology and intelligence.
US is also expected to deploy “other assets” – which will include military hardware and drones – in the operation.
There may not be much propaganda or reorientation of the local populace, since they are not particularly on good terms with the insurgents.
Many Nigerians had been asking President Goodluck Jonathan to seek for help “without shame” wherever it may be found.
Some referred to the experiences of the missing Malaysian flight and the South African ferry that sank and how the world deployed resources to help the affected countries.
Here are a few things to note on the role of America ─ and why it is a mixture of good and bad news.
Good news: The US is the most experienced country in counter-insurgency on a foreign soil. It has the know-how and the equipment to monitor and target terrorists in the most difficult places. By working with Nigerian security agencies directly, this will improve Nigeria’s capacity and strike the “fear of God” into the insurgents who have become bolder in recent times.
Good news: The rescue operation for the girls may just be the needed silver bullet to launch a massive operation against Boko Haram in the desert and forest of Borno State. A successful operation will flush them out significantly and eliminate their camps. This could, in the best case scenario, effectively end the insurgency.
Bad news: The girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents are still with them and are definitely being used as human shield. If the military decides to invade or bombard the camp, these girls will most certainly be affected. Indeed, the militants may choose to harm them. It may end up a wild goose chase. Terrorists are known to use human shield as a strategy.
Bad news: In Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army took some girls captive over 10 years ago. While it is believed that the girls are still alive, but no one has rescued them. Some of them either escaped or the rebels willingly let them go. Security operations against rebels on their own terrain are very difficult.