US Drones Reveal Boko Haram’s Movements, New Camps

Snippets of the findings of the United States surveillance drones and satellites tracking the over 200 students abducted by the Boko Haram sect in Borno State are beginning to emerge.

Imagery from the drones and satellites shows suspected terrorists setting up temporary camps and moving through isolated villages along bush paths in the Northeast, according to reports from the US.

However, the exact location of the girls, who were shown in a video released early this week by their captors remains unknown.

Washington has shared the imagery with security agencies in Abuja, the Los Angeles Times reported ahead of Saturday’s summit of West African leaders in Paris where strategies to improve cooperation in the fight against the Boko Haram would be discussed.

American officials are said to be frustrated with what they perceived as the inability of Nigeria to act on fresh intelligence about the Boko Haram insurgents.

A US official familiar with the hunt for the girls said Nigeria’s security forces are hampered by poor equipment and training and have failed to respond quickly.

U.S. Defence officials confirmed earlier reports by Nigerian media that Boko Haram had split the girls into several groups after the April 14 abduction.

US officials on Thursday openly expressed their frustration with the planned rescue of the girls at a Senate hearing in Washington DC.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he has written to President Goodluck Jonathan asking him “to demonstrate the leadership his nation is demanding.”

“Despite offers of assistance from the United States and other international partners, the Nigerian government’s response to this crisis has been tragically and unacceptably slow,” Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said at a hearing of his panel.

State Department and Defense Department officials at the hearing said the Nigerian government’s failure to deal with abuses by its own military is a hurdle to U.S. cooperation.

Alice Friend, the Defense Department’s principal director for African affairs, told the committee that even as the U.S. is providing intelligence and satellite photos to help in the search, officials are being “exceedingly cautious about sharing information with the Nigerians because of their unfortunate record.”

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