Chibok Girls: Why US Reduced Surveillance Flights

The United States weekend said it had reduced its surveillance flights in the search for more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram members on April 14 in Chibok, Borno State, but added that the overall effort was unchanged due to more flights by other countries.

“We don’t have any better idea today than we did before about where these girls are, but there has been no let up of the effort itself”, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. Kirby said the same level of effort was being sustained now through international involvement.

A US defence official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that US flights had been reduced only after a body of intelligence had been gathered and that the cuts had been offset by British and French support.

According to him, some of the resources that were being used in Nigeria had been diverted from other missions in Africa and could now be used elsewhere on the continent.

In the last month US officials have played down expectations about a swift rescue of the girls and stressed the limitations of intelligence from surveillance flights.