- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

U.S. Special Forces are heading to Nigeria to train its troops on ways to neutralize the Islamist group Boko Haram.

“We want these [Nigerian] soldiers to take the fight to Boko Haram in the restricted terrain and really eliminate the threat within their borders so they can get back to peacekeeping operations,” Lt. Vinnie Garbarino, a USARAF engagements officer, said in an Army release, Military.com reported.

Boko Haram has received worldwide condemnation for kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls and threatening to sell them into slavery. It is also responsible for thousands of killings in the region since 2009, Reuters reported.

The Pentagon stressed that the Special Forces troops will not play a role in the rescue of the kidnapped schoolgirls.

“They will have no role whatsoever in the search for the missing girls,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said of the Special Forces and other troops from U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) that will deploy to Nigeria in two weeks to advise a Nigerian Ranger battalion, Military.com reported.

Nigeria’s government indicated that it would be willing to negotiate with the Islamists on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Boko Haram: We’ll swap 200 school girls for prisoners

“The window of negotiation is still open,” said Minister of Special Duties Tanimu Turaki, who heads a committee charged with negotiating with Boko Haram’s members, Reuters reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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