05/05/2014 12:28 pm ET Updated May 05, 2014

White House: Abduction Of Nigerian Schoolgirls Is An 'Outrage And A Terrible Tragedy'

The White House weighed in on Monday on the news that Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria last month, calling the abduction "an outrage and a terrible tragedy," according to MSNBC.

"The president has been briefed several times and his national security team continues to monitor the situation closely," a White House official told NBC News. "The State Department has been in regular contact with the Nigerian government about what we might do to help support its efforts to find and free these young women."

Secretary of State John Kerry promised earlier the U.S. would support the Nigerian government in the search for the girls.

"The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice," Kerry said while in Ethiopia.

According to Agence France Press, the leader of Boko Haram vowed to sell the schoolgirls, who were kidnapped in the north of the country two weeks ago.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with security, school and state officials on Sunday, saying "everything must be done" to free the girls but admitting he had no clue where they were.

"Let me reassure the parents and guardians that we will get their daughters out," Jonathan said.



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