The United Kingdom stands ready to respond to any request by President Goodluck Jonathan to help rescue 276 girls abducted from a school in Chibok, Borno State, Prime Minister David Cameron said, and signalled a request for troops may also be considered.
Mr. Cameron said it was unlikely the Nigerian government will request for British troops, but said he had given Mr. Jonathan a blank cheque for any request that will be considered.
â€œI rang the Nigerian president to offer anything that would be helpful and we agreed to send out a team that includes some counter-terrorism and intelligence experts to work alongside the bigger American team thatâ€™s going out there,â€ he told the BBC One programmeâ€. â€œWe stand ready to do anything more that the Nigerians would want.â€
He said it was unlikely Nigeria would ask for British troops to help but added: â€œI said to President Jonathan where we can help, please ask, and we will see what we can do.â€
The girls were kidnapped from their school April 14 by armed men who herded them into trucks late at night. Boko Haram, which had earlier that day struck in Abuja killing at least 75 people in a car bomb, claimed responsibility for the abductions.
An international effort led by the United States is underway to help rescue the girls, amid widespread condemnation of Boko Haramâ€™s growing cruelty and the Nigerian governmentâ€™s handling of the crisis.
Britain, France, China and Canada have also promised support. The US government said its team comprises military intelligence, law enforcement personnel and hostage negotiators.
Mr. Cameron said looking for the girls cannot be easy. â€œWe canâ€™t just pile in and do whatever weâ€™d like,â€ said Mr. Cameron. â€œItâ€™s immensely complicated because they are probably in this deep area of jungle that is three times the size of Wales.
CIA director says everything being done
Meanwhile the head of Americaâ€™s Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, has said his country and other foreign partners are doing â€œeverythingâ€ possible to rescue the Chibok girls.
In an interview with the website, Fusion, CIA director, John Brennan, said President Barack Obama had made it clear to officials that helping the Nigerian government locate and rescue the missing students is a â€œpriorityâ€.
â€œWell, we and our partners â€¦ are doing everything we can to find the location of those girls and to bring them home to their families,â€ Mr. Brennan said.
Mr. Brennan refused to confirm whether his agency has an office in Nigeria, or whether CIA officers were part of the U.S. team. But he said the agency personnel are positioned in â€œmany parts of the worldâ€ who can â€œhelp our partners in Nigeria with technologies and expertise.â€
â€œThis is a tragedy and the president has made it clear that this is a priority, that we need to be able to help the Nigerian authorities and those families â€” and bring those family members back home,â€ he said.