President Obama has authorized the use of drones and other assets in Nigeria in order to find the 200 school girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram. The Obama administration revealed earlier this week the level of support engaged to find Boko Haram and the missing girls.
The U.S. has currently both manned and unmanned aerial assets which include the powerful RQ-4 Global Hawk drone. The unmanned Global Hawk drone can fly for 24 hours before needing to refuel. The U.S. military has confirmed that a reconnaissance mission did occur over northern Nigeria this week with more to follow. In addition, the U.S. has been using the MC-12 Liberty. This reconnaissance plane has a crew of four that can transmit and analyze real-time data.
These aerial assists are working as part of an additional 27 man unit which includes 16 U.S. military personnel. These assets are part of a request from Nigerian President Goodwill Jonathan for United States involvement in the search for the missing girls, but already an intelligence controversy is brewing between the United States and Nigeria. The United States will control all intelligence gathered and decide what to release to the Nigerian government. This has sparked many rumors about the United States seeking intelligence and more influence over Nigeria’s vast oil resources in the north.