May 6th, 2014
04:54 PM ET
4 years ago

Senator calls for U.S. special forces to rescue Nigerian girls

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Susan Collins told CNN in an interview that she wants the U.S. military to help rescue more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria.

“More can be done by this administration. I would like to see Special Forces deployed to help rescue these young girls. Some of these girls are as young as nine years old,” said Collins.

“They’re being sold into slavery, forced into marriages, required to convert. This is just horrible,” she said.

Collins joined Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski in writing a bipartisan letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama asking the administration to do more. It was signed by all 20 women senators.

But the letter focused on the diplomatic front, and urged Obama to press the United Nations to add Boko Haram to its al Qaeda Sanctions List.

Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings in April, is a militant group that has received assistance in the past from al Qaeda, according to the State Department. The United States has branded it a terror group.

“Every single woman immediately signed that letter, because she wanted to lend her voice to the international outrage,” said Mikulski.

“The women of the Senate won’t be quiet,” she said.

The comments came as word surfaced of even more abductions this week.

Mikulski, interviewed by CNN alongside Collins, was more circumspect on the idea of sending American troops on a rescue mission. Instead, she hopes regional governments take the lead.

“It has to start with the Nigerian President, using his resources, an African regional coalition, and then call upon the expertise of nations that have Special Forces, special intelligence data, satellites, etc.,” said Mikulski.

“Find the girls, rescue the girls, punish the bad guys and send a message: we won’t tolerate it. You try it again, we’ll come after you again,” Mikulski said emphatically.

But she voiced concern coming from others on Capitol Hill and elsewhere about the Nigerian government’s willingness to act.

“The Nigerian government, led by its President, has been tepid on its response at best,” said Mikulski.

Collins said she would think the Nigerian President “would welcome Special Forces coming in.”

“I don’t think the Nigerian President has the capabilities, obviously, that we have, so I would hope that he would encourage the United States to help him rescue these young citizens of his country, these girls who are being so exploited, kidnapped, taken from their homes. This is horrendous and it requires a global outrage in response to what’s happening,” said Collins.

Under mounting international pressure, Nigeria on Tuesday defended its response to the kidnappings. A senior Nigerian official has told CNN that the government there is in "hot pursuit" of those responsible. Specifically, the official said two special battalions have been devoted to the search and more troops would be involved.

So far, the State Department said that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan welcomes an offer of U.S. support and said the embassy in Nigeria is ready to create a "coordination cell" to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise. It would include U.S. military personnel, agency spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Filed under: Congress • Senate • Susan Collins
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. don in albuquerque

    And I think she should personally pay for those special forces.

    May 6, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Huh?

    This is how it always starts. Someone is upset over a story they saw on CNN and they want the U.S. military to go fix it. Remember Somalia? That didn't work out to well for our guys. Even if we were able to rescue those girls, what is to stop Boko Harum from kidnapping 200 more girls? The U.S, military has been bogged down in too many of these third world disasters, we don't need any more.
    My son spent over two years as an Army officer in Iraq trying to help a bunch morons get their act together. Luckily he came through unscathed. The last time I checked, the idiots in Iraq are still trying to killing each other.

    May 6, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Nigeria shmigeria! Benghazi is the only place that matters in the entire country of Africa!!!

    May 6, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    To be serious for a second: Yeah, it's really great that they suddenly care about abuses and violence and warlordism and corruption and inhumanity in Africa. But where have they all been the past several decades?

    May 6, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Ol' Yeller

    How do we fund this special world police mission? Doesn't the teabaggers want every penny accounted for and any extra spending has to be met with equal cuts?
    This is a terrible situation, but we need to stop trying to be everything to everybody and let them use some of the foreign aid money we send them to aid in THEIR mission to rescue these girls.

    May 6, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Mike B

    Boko Haram has come a long way from "Whiter Shade of Pale."

    May 6, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |

    I think that group of terrorist will flee like the cowards they are at the thought of U.S. special forces coming to clean their house !

    May 6, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Yeah it is really great. Especially in light of their stripping a bill of 12 million ( one million per year) to fight children in this country from being absorbed into the sex-slave trade. And then just a couple of hours later voted for tax breaks for corps, and the 1% in excess of 301 billion.

    May 6, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    Did these two ladies not realize this has been going on in Africa since......oh........before the revolutionary war?

    May 6, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. 2_indy1600

    According to the President, this is the time for "Africa Rising". The educated girls in Africa are the only hope for the country. I for one am tired of seeing starving, sick children who need my help to feed themselves or get medical. I've given. Where HAVE the politicians been? This is a branch of terrorists fed by Osama himself when he was alive. There is no excuse for girls being kidnapped in the dead of night and sold into slavery, at any time, by any political party. Get your head out of the past, Sniffit. "But where have they all been the past several decades.?" Be here now.

    May 6, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....


    I thank your son for his service! But there is a RWNJ poster here that says the soldiers want to fight. I know crazy huh?

    While I feel terrible for these girls, the US is not the World Police. We can't do everything. There are people in this country on the brink of being homeless because they can't find jobs. Can Congress please do something about their jobs, jobs, jobs??

    May 6, 2014 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Why doesn't she send her children or grandchildren over there? Why are is the United States the worlds police?

    May 6, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. Ed

    Sen. Susan Collins, do you have any family in the military? NO? Then shut up!

    May 6, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. Misha Chevalier

    Sadly, how many kids get kidnapped here in the US every year? Abductions by slavers, parents or just weirdos. Never to be found....faces show up on milk cartons or Wal Mart walls. Aren't they "NEWSWORTHY" enough to find? Ohh yeah, and LET's throw the SF into the mix. Always easier to have them do the dirty work of killing bad men in a foreign land than having a foreign country police their own folks. Jeesh!! Get a GRIP lady!! And yeah, pay for that little expedition YOURSELF!!

    May 6, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Is it just me or is it a bad move to inform the world of our intentions? Wouldn't our Special Ops guys prefer to act without an introduction?

    May 6, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Weston Liveit

    These women need to sign their sons up for military service and when they're fully trained they should request that they be sent to foreign lands to rescue non-American hostages.

    May 6, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. smike

    What happened to AFRICOM, the command that is supposed to be in charge of finding terrorists in Africa ?? Milliions have been spent on their operations, but they are only looking at Yemen. Other areas of Africa deserve support against terrorists as well. They should be providing support to the Nigerian military that they themselves do not have, such as logistics, intell, weapons, etc. We do not need to send US special forces to take care of their problems.

    May 6, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. cbp

    We can give them assistance if the Nigerian government wants that assistance. Please remember that if one American is harmed we cannot go back and investigate what happened. We do send our people on dangerous missions in dangerous places and unfortunately we do not have the ability to keep them safe from harm. There is no cavalry waiting to ride in to save people.

    Our men and women are so brave and they do everything they can to keep people safe. No doubt those who go to Nigeria will do the job they are sent in to do. They will need everyone's support.

    May 6, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. Cody

    When will people recognize that we are the world police. We put ourselves in this situation and now we are obligated to act on the world's behalf. We can't just build the world around ourselves the way we want it and then ignore it, world affairs are US affairs.

    May 6, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. poop

    if they wanted special forces to step in why would they call on them so publicly so that it could get on the internet for anyone to read?? why don't these idiots drop some of that 6 figure salary to get them back?

    May 6, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. lloyd roberts

    Well Susan Collins is a republican I respect, but it sounds like she's getting back to the blame game. Maybe we should send our forces back to Iraq, that worked. Even though we were attacked on 9-11 by 19 hijackers, 15 of which were from one country, Saudi Arabia, and not one from Iraq, we attacked Iraq instead of Saudi Arabia. So let's try Bush/Cheney special forces private contractor war and let's attack Iraq again to save these girls. oh, and spend another trillion. And by the way, Al Queda is a Saudi creation

    May 6, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Peter

    I think that the person who mentioned Somalia is correct. We get upset about a report from CNN. We go in and then we get burned bad, real bad. Let their own people handle this one. Give air and intelligence support, yes. But please stay away from that hellhole. And... by the way, have theses ladies thought thru what would happen if all the girls get killed during our special forces operation.

    May 6, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. Mark

    Nigeria shmigeria! Benghazi is the only place that matters in the entire country of Africa!!!
    maybe to you, to me its just one of hundreds of hot spots, and ugly places that I wish we did not have to send young men and women without a darn good reason.

    May 6, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Mantismech

    The darkest/hottest corner in Hell are reserved for those remained neutral in times of moral crisis.

    May 6, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Fedup

    How about those Senators go get the girls back if they are so up in arms about it? Who is the "we" in this? "You try it again, we’ll come after you again,” Mikulski said emphatically".....who is the "we". She isn't going anywhere but to her posh home and salon. Does she have a son? Send him. Let our military stay home. I come from a military family. We need to keep them home and America needs to wake up and get these jokers out of their offices and start taking back America.

    May 6, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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