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U.S. Surveillance Flights Seeking Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls Reduced

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The United States reduced its surveillance flights to help find more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants after building a body of intelligence and after other states ramped up support, a U.S. official said. The senior U.S. defense official told Reuters that the U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights, first announced in May, were now flying at an "intermittent" rate. “We've moved into a maintenance mode," but overall intelligence-gathering had not diminished, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Pentagon had said on Thursday that there were "around the clock" intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations in support of Nigeria's search. U.S. military personnel are in Abuja helping coordinate the effort. U.S. officials have played down expectations about a swift rescue of the girls and stressed the limitations of intelligence gleaned from surveillance flights. Information gathered from different sources had left only a murky picture of where the girls might be, in how many groups and even in which country, the official said.

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