After about three months of frantic search for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, recent US surveillance flights over northeastern Nigeria showed what appeared to be large groups of girls held together in remote locations, raising hopes among domestic and foreign officials that they are among the group that Boko Haram abducted from their school in April, US and Nigerian officials said.
It will be the first time a near definite information about the location of the abducted schoolgirls will be made by the international forces who had offered to help search for the kidnapped girls.
The Nigerian military had claimed in the past that it knew where the girls were but was wary of applying force in a bid to rescue them.
The surveillance suggests that at least some of the 219 schoolgirls still held captive haven't been forced into marriage or sex slavery, as had been feared, but instead are being used as bargaining chips for the release of prisoners.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the US aerial imagery matched what Nigerian officials said they heard from northern Nigerians who have interacted with the Islamist insurgency: that some of Boko Haram's most famous set of captives were getting special treatment, compared with the hundreds of other girls the group is suspected to have kidnapped.