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US troops might be 'tweeted into combat' over kidnapped Nigerian girls

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#Bringbackourgirls hashtag puts pressure on US military

UN Women

A Twitter hashtag may pressure US troops into searching for the 276 Nigerian girls kidnapped last month. Senior Special Operations commanders have reportedly told their subordinates to be ready. "We're being tweeted into combat," an anonymous military official informs NBC News.

"We're being tweeted into combat."

The abductions are the work of the Boko Haram, a violent insurgent organization opposed to the Westernization of Nigeria. According to NBC News, their leader stated that the girls "should not have been getting a western-style education." It is believed that some of the victims have been sold as brides for 2,000 naira (about $13) each. The brutal kidnapping triggered a massive response on social media. On April 23rd, a Nigerian lawyer named Ibrahim M. Abdullahi catalyzed the #bringbackourgirls campaign on Twitter. To date, over 3.5 million tweets bearing the hashtag have been made with notable support from the Malala Fund and Michelle Obama.

While military personnel have been deployed in neighboring Chad to "support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft," the United States government has yet to launch its own rescue mission. NBC News' military analyst Col. Jack Jacobs warns of the challenges faced with rescuing so many hostages, separated into an unknown number of groups, from a terrorist-controlled jungle. He says the tactical difficulty of such an operation "would be overwhelming." Jacobs explains it would require accurate intelligence and multiple teams working with extreme precision. "Otherwise, a single radio call from one camp would doom the other hostages."