Pictured: Mia Kuumba, of the District of Columbia, brandishes a wooden stick during a rally in front of the Nigerian embassy
The White House will send a team to Nigeria to aid in the search for nearly 300 kidnapped teenage girls, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday. Carney said there is a "utility to having U.S. military personnel and experts on intelligence" in Nigeria, "and hostage negotiators to assist and advise the Nigerian government as they deal with this challenge," according to the Washington Post. "Time is of the essence," Carney said.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly welcomed the offer. The news comes as a hashtag associated with the missing girls surpassed 1 million mentions on Twitter, a notable milestone three weeks after the girls were reportedly kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamic militants from their school in the northern Nigerian city of Chibok.
The militant group, whose name means "western education is sinful," has claimed credit for the kidnappings and said they would sell the girls as sex slaves for $12 each.
13 Things You Need to Know About the Missing Nigerian Girls
+ On April 14, Boko Haram militants raided the Government Girls Secondary School and kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls.
+ All girls kidnapped are reportedly between the ages of 15 and 18 years old.
+ Coverage of the kidnappings did not reach the US nightly news cycle until May 1st, a full two weeks after the girls had been abducted from their school.
+ According to reports, 53 girls managed to escape from their captors.
+ An estimated 276 girls are still missing.