WASHINGTON — The United States is alone in helping Nigeria locate more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamists, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday, despite help on the ground from Britain, France and Israel.
With 80 military personnel sent to neighboring Chad for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the United States is the biggest foreign participant in the effort against the militant group Boko Haram.
Washington has also deployed surveillance drones, spy planes and about 30 civilian and military specialists to support Nigeria’s security forces.
“Boko Haram, Nigeria, only the United States is there offering the assistance to help find those young women,” Kerry said during a dinner at the State Department.
“Other countries, not only aren’t they invited, but they did not even offer.”
Kerry spoke during a dinner at the State Department on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the US diplomatic corps.
However the United States is joined in Nigeria by Britain, France and Israel, which have sent their own experts. China, which saw 10 citizens likely abducted by Boko Haram in a region bordering Cameroon, has also proposed to help.
The United Nations earlier Thursday imposed sanctions on Boko Haram, blacklisting it as an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization.
In his speech, Kerry also lashed out at France, whose Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has expressed regret that the United States did not attack Syria a year ago amid spiraling violence in the conflict there.
“People are angry because we did not strike Syria at one instance but guess what: Today, 92 percent of all the chemical weapons in Syria are out and being destroyed and the other eight percent will get out,” a visibly angry Kerry said, without mentioning France specifically.
“That never would have occurred otherwise.”
Kerry is said to have backed military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, only to have US President Barack Obama oppose the move at the last minute.