US team heading to Nigeria to aid search for kidnapped girls

A march in Nigeria demands the return of the girls.

The White House says a U.S. team will head to Nigeria as soon as possible to aid in the search for nearly 300 teenage girls abducted from their school more than three weeks ago.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan welcomed the U.S. offer to search for the girls.

The group Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls last month and has threatened to sell them into slavery. Overnight, suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped eight more girls from a village near one of the Islamists' strongholds in northeastern Nigeria.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the American embassy in Nigeria is "prepared to form a coordination cell" that would include U. S. military personnel and law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations.

"President Jonathan welcomes Secretary Kerry's offer to send a team to Nigeria to discuss how the United States can best support Nigeria and its response," said Psaki. "In addition, our embassy in Abuja is prepared to form a coordination cell an interdisciplinary team, and this is what they discussed on the call, that could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiations and help facilitate information sharing and provide victim assistance it would include us military personnel, law enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations as well as officials with expertise in other areas that may be helpful to the Nigerian government and its response."