President Obama has ordered a unit of approximately 80 troops to the African nation of Chad. The troops are suspected to be elements of U.S. Special Forces and U.S. Air Force personnel. According to a White House statement, “These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.” The deployment of these troops represents a significant escalation of involvement by the United States. Intelligence gathering flights and drone missions have increased as the world shows concern over the fate of the kidnapped 200 school girls. The Obama administration maintains that no U.S. ground forces will be deployed in the hunt for the missing girls at this time.
This is the second deployment of troops sent by Obama in the last 30 days. Earlier, an estimated 70 members of a joint task force were deployed to Nigeria along with recon aircraft and drones. By all estimations of the political climate, Obama is receiving bi-partisan support for his actions so far. Nigeria is apparently far from stable in the Muslim controlled north. In fact, last week, the Nigerian 7th Army Division mutinied and attempted to kill their commanding officer. The 7th Army is in charge of searching for the missing schoolgirls, which partially explains Nigeria’s inability to mobilize.