CHICAGO (CBS) — On the day the White House said a U.S. team will head to Nigeria to help search for nearly 300 teenage girls abducted by Islamic extremists, Rev. Jesse Jackson said he’s trying to bring more attention to the girls’ plight.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Jackson said he wasn’t pointing fingers, but the world has been slow to react to the Boko Haram militant group’s kidnapping of 300 girls from a rural school last month, and threatening to sell them into slavery.
“The first thing we need is attention, and then we need to reach out to offer support in many forms. That means helping to track down, find out where those children are,” he said.
Jackson, a civil rights leader and head of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, called on the U.S. and other nations to help find the captive girls. Jackson said perhaps the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies could help search for the children, and appealed to the militants to free them.
On Tuesday, the White House announced the U.S. would send military personnel, intelligence experts, and hostage negotiators to Nigeria – although not troops – to help them track down and rescue the kidnapped girls. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Secretary of State John Kerry has been in contact with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who welcomed the offer of help.
Jackson said he might personally lead a delegation to Nigeria, though he admitted he’s not sure if such a trip would be necessary or helpful.
“It may not be necessary. We’re prepared to go. We’ve been there four times this year, and we may very well have to go again, but we’re willing to go,” he said. “In the meantime, we want to mobilize opinion within this country.”
Jackson said the rest of the world must care about what happens in Africa, because the problems there are not just African problems, but the world’s.
“This inhumane act does not serve anybody’s interests,” Jackson said.
Chicago-area Nigerians like Sonny Okuro are outraged by the slow response to find the girls.
“The question of life of these children is unpredictable, but I’m afraid that half of those kids may not come alive,” said Okuro.
Calls for the safe return of the girls are coming in from around the world–and on social media under the hashtag BringBackOurGirls.