Boko Haram: US, Nigeria reach deal on intelligence sharing

Boko Haram: US, Nigeria reach deal on intelligence sharing

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:33 pm

U.S. Africa Command has reached deal with the Nigerian military for sharing intelligence gleaned from surveillance by American spy aircraft in the hunt for the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram.

“We have finalized agreements with the Nigerians for sharing intelligence with them, specifically related to the kidnapped girls,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday.

Pentagon officials also said that MC-12W Liberty spy planes with a crew of four, and RQ-4 Global Hawk drones were now flying round-the-clock over areas of northeastern Nigeria where Boko Haram is suspected of kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls on April 14 from the town of Chibok.

•The abducted school girls

•The abducted school girls

The intelligence agreement had to skirt U.S. laws barring cooperation with foreign militaries suspected of human rights abuses.

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have accused the Nigerian military of abusive tactics in thus-far failed efforts to combat Boko Haram in mostly-Muslim northern Nigeria.

AFRICOM has sent 16 personnel to Nigeria to work on intelligence and communications in the search effort. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, who heads the command, was in Nigeria last week to negotiate the intelligence pact.

At the White House Monday, President Barack Obama met for lunch with several combatant commanders, but Rodriguez was not among them, Pentagon officials said. Rodriguez also did not participate in the White House meeting by video teleconference.

On Sunday, a bomb blast in a Christian neighborhood of Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria, killed at least four people, Western news outlets reported. There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

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