UK offers Sentinel R1 aircraft to aid search of kidnapped Nigerian girls

14 May 2014 (Last Updated May 14th, 2014 18:30)

The UK Government has offered to send surveillance aircraft and military intelligence teams to Nigeria, to assist the local government in the search of the schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram militants last month.

Sentinal aircraft

The UK Government has offered to send surveillance aircraft and military intelligence teams to Nigeria, to assist the local government in the search of the schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram militants last month.

Speaking in Parliament, UK Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the country has offered further assistance.

The government will also deploy a team to work with US experts to analyse information on the girls' location, Cameron added.

"This was an act of pure evil, the world is coming together not just to condemn it but to do everything we can to help the Nigerians find these young girls," Cameron said.

Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that the surveillance aircraft offered to Nigeria was a Royal Air Force (RAF) Sentinel R1 airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft, which can carry a crew of five.

The proposed military team, which will be embedded within the Nigerian Army headquarters, will serve as a connection between the intelligence cell and Nigerian officers in Abuja, the MoD added.

"This was an act of pure evil, the world is coming together not just to condemn it but to do everything we can to help the Nigerians find these young girls."

Experts from the UK have already been sent to help find the 200-plus schoolgirls, who were taken from their boarding school in the town of Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria.

The kidnapping has attracted sharp criticism from the international community, including France, Israel and the US, who have also deployed specialist teams to assist in the search operation, which, according to the Nigerian military, is focused on the Sambisa forest area of Borno state, Agence France Presse reported.

Boko Haram had released a video of about 130 of the abducted girls, saying they could be swapped for the group's imprisoned militants, early this week.

However, the Nigerian Government, which has been criticised for a slow response to the incident, rejected the offer and instead called for talks with the militants on reconciliation.


Image: A Royal Air Force Sentinel R1 spy aircraft, similar to the one offered to help in the search of the abducted Nigerian girls, prepares to take off in Mojave, US. Photo: courtesy of Akradecki.

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