Boko Haram Condemnation Sweeps the Hill in Flash-Mob Fashion
“More can be done by this administration. I would like to see Special Forces deployed to help rescue these young girls. Some of these girls are as young as nine years old,” Collins said. “They’re being sold into slavery, forced into marriages, required to convert. This is just horrible."
She added that Nigeria's president would probably welcome the U.S. troops because he "obviously" lacks the capabilities to plunge into the northern border region and take on Boko Haram himself, despite their government's continuous claim that they're in "hot pursuit" of the terrorists.
"I would hope that he would encourage the United States to help him rescue these young citizens of his country, these girls who are being so exploited, kidnapped, taken from their homes," said Collins. "This is horrendous and it requires a global outrage in response to what’s happening."
Mikulski told CNN that she would rather see an African coalition of forces take the lead. “Find the girls, rescue the girls, punish the bad guys and send a message: we won’t tolerate it. You try it again, we’ll come after you again,” she said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), referring to Nigerian parents who were wading into Boko Haram territory armed with rudimentary weapons in a desperate effort to find the girls, told the network "you can't just have bows and arrows going up against a terror organization."
"I think this is one of these operations that could involve Special Forces… this is evidence of barbarity and the world cannot just stand by."
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria "is prepared to form an interdisciplinary team that could provide expertise in victim assistance."
"It would include U.S. military personnel, law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations as well as officials with expertise in other areas that may be helpful to the Nigerian government in its response," he said. "President Obama has directed that we do everything we can… this would be a team that would be focused on this issue, not just on the broader Boko Haram challenge that Nigeria faces."
Carney added that "appropriate action must be taken to locate and to free these young women before they are trafficked or killed."
"We're not considering at this point military resources. We would urge Nigeria to ensure that any operation to free the girls would protect civilians and human rights."
After a meeting Tuesday with EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton, Kerry said he conversed with Jonathan "on behalf of President Obama" and offered support.
"President Goodluck Jonathan was very happy to receive this offer and ready to move on it immediately, and we are immediately engaging in order to implement this," Kerry said. "We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of these young girls, and we want to provide whatever assistance is possible in order to help for their safe return to their families."
Kerry was asked at the press conference why it took so long -- three weeks -- for the U.S. to get outraged enough to mobilize an assistance effort.
"We have been in touch from day one, and our Embassy has been engaged and we have been engaged. But the government had its own set of strategies, if you will, in the beginning. And you can offer and talk, but you can’t do if a government has its own sense of how it’s proceeding," Kerry replied. "I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort, and it will begin immediately. I mean literally immediately."
The secretary added he'd be meeting later in the day with Obama, who "may or may not have something to say about this in the near term."