“I am pleased to say that, as we committed to last week, there are Canadians who have arrived on the ground in Nigeria who are working with the United States and the United Kingdom to work on the freedom of these young girls, which is obviously our most pressing priority,” Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told the reporters on May 12.
The situation in Nigeria has reached a point where the Nigerian Government has requested international help to counter Boko Haram’s recent abduction of 276 females. Haram affirmed in a recent video that they will free the kidnapped girls after the government releases jailed militants.
“I swear to almighty Allah you will not see them again until you release our people that you have captured,” Abubakar Shekau says.
Mercedes Stephenson, who recently did an interview with Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) personnel about Operation Flintlock, reported that, “They [Canadian soldiers deployed to Nigeria] have something to do with security.”
CTV News has learned that members of the Canadian Special Operation Forces Command, commonly called CANSOFCOM, will be deploying to Nigeria in the coming days. The announcement further confirms Canadian commitment to help the Nigerian government facing terrorism.
“Those special forces are not negotiators, but they have expertise in hostage extraction,” Stephenson told CTV News.
However, the Canadian government did not confirm the participation of CANSOFCOM operators in Nigeria, with Prime Minister Harper accentuating that Canadian soldiers will not be engaged in a combat role. CSOR has been involved in Africa by providing training to Mali’s military in the fight against AQIM.
It is typical Canadian government behavior to not comment on the Canadian soldiers’ participation when it involves Canada’s elite troops. Yet, the Canadian government has been providing Nigeria with more than $500,000 to help boost the country’s counter-terrorism initiatives.
Canadian SOF will join teams from the US, UK, France and Isreal in the hunt for Boko Haram. As more details comes available, I will keep you updated.
(Featured image courtesy of VirtuAiles)
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