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Michelle Obama calls girls abductions 'unconscionable act'

10 May 2014, 15:39

Lagos - US First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday denounced as an "unconscionable act" the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram as a mobilised international community helped Nigeria search for them.

For the first time standing in for President Barack Obama on his weekly Saturday morning address, Michelle Obama said she and her husband were "outraged and heartbroken" over the mass abduction of the girls from their school dormitory in a remote corner of Nigeria last month.

Their sentiments were shared by "millions of people across the globe," she said.

This violence "was not an isolated incident ... it's a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions," Michelle Obama said.

"This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education - grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls."

The abductions have sparked offers of help from the United States, Britain, France and China.

Seven military officials from the US Africa regional command AFRICOM along with a State Department expert arrived in Nigeria on Friday, and three FBI personnel and four others from State and the USAID aid agency were due in the country on Saturday.

"They'll be providing technical and investigatory assistance, helping with hostage negotiations, advising on military planning and operations and assisting with intelligence and information," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Among the help on offer would be intelligence-sharing as the teams work to track down the girls, who range in age from 16 to 18.

Britain said Wednesday it would send a small team to Nigeria to concentrate on planning, coordination and advice to local authorities rather than operations on the ground to look for the girls.

France also has offered to send a specialised team while China promised to supply "any useful information acquired by its satellites and intelligence services" to Nigeria.



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