Official: Freeing Nigerian girls a top US priority

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says that freeing 276 Nigerian girls from Boko Haram is a top U.S. priority.

The State Department's Robert Jackson says the militant group, quote, "has no regard for human life." He says the U.S. is helping Nigerian intelligence and law enforcement, and seeking global sanctions on Boko Haram (BOH'-koh hah-RAHM').

Jackson is testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His written testimony is posted online.

The girls' abduction last month from a remote Nigerian school has triggered global outrage.

The Defense Department's Alice Friend says Boko Haram's reach is expanding, and attacks are getting more sophisticated and deadlier. The group is "capable of directly and successfully engaging Nigeria's armed forces."

She says, quote, "In general, Nigeria has failed to mount an effective campaign against Boko Haram."

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