Barring any last minutes change, top United States elite forces made up of members of the Marines, Navy Seals and Special Forces, will be in Nigeria in June as part of effort to help the country deal with the Boko Haram insurgence.
Nigeria and the United States Military have existing agreements in counter-terrorism, Maritime Security, military transformation and other areas.
A U.S. Army officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the mission said U.S. troop members on the mission have already been informed.
Monica Matoush, spokeswoman for the U.S Defense Department did not return calls when Pointblanknews.com sort for clarifications on the planned June mission.
Nicole M. Dalrymple Media Action Officer, West and Central Africa AFRICOM Public Affairs Office told Pointblanknews.com that she cannot immediately confirm the June mission but disclosed that counterterrorism, Maritime Security and others are areas the U.S is rendering assistance to Nigeria.
"If I'm able to find anything out about specific training in June I will let you know," she told Pointblanknews.com in an email exchange.
In public comments, Nigerian and U.S. officials acknowledge "strategic cooperation" and confirm high-level meetings. However, they play down the meetings as routine, apparently for fear the Northern Muslim leaders will be outraged.
The military source said the mission is purely training but did not rule out a possible change of plans based on a new request for assistance from Nigeria.
"The mission is purely for a training purpose but we understand there is a new request and I don't know details of it yet. But if we have directive to do otherwise, then we won't have any choice than to do just that. I am aware that some senior officials are in talks with some Nigerian officials for more help but I cannot say what other help it is."
Pointblanknews.com could not confirm details of the latest request from the Nigerian Government to the U.S Military. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense,Colonel Mohammed and Army Spokesman, Colonel Usman Abdul did not pick up their calls.
The source confirmed that the soldiers on the mission would be drawn from AFRICOM and from those who just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan because of their understanding of the Arab world.
Dalrymple however disclosed, "our partnership with Nigeria is focused in four areas requested by the Nigerians. Those areas are maritime security, crisis response (i.e. peacekeeping operations, pandemic response, airlift), counterterrorism, and military transformation (i.e.joint doctrine development, integration of women into the military, civil-military capability).
She said while there are no U.S. troops on the ground in an operational capacity assisting the Nigerian military in their response to Boko Haram attacks, "Nigeria is a member of the U.S. State Department's Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism
According to her, "In recent years, at Nigeria's request, the U.S. has been working with the Nigerian military on their nascent counter-force through recurring training events.
"This training has included basic soldiering skills, basic small unit infantry tactics and leadership training," she told Pointblanknews.com
Boko Haram employs the tactics of Al-Qaeda, using suicide bombers and waging guerilla warfare in their quest to Islamize Nigeria. Their insurgency has led to several deaths and destruction of properties including the United Nations building in the Nigeria capital of Abuja in 2011.
Ambassador J. Anthony Holmes, U.S. Africa Command's civilian Deputy had in October 2011 said "Given the realities on the continent, however, our focus tends to be on Somalia and the surrounding countries to deal with al-Shabaab, and in West Africa, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which is based in northern Mali but increasingly has ties with Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. So we try to assist the governments and militaries of the countries in that region to develop the capacity to come to grips with and solve its own terrorism problem.