Could drones help find Nigeria's missing schoolgirls?

Reuters reported Thursday that the U.S. was considering a request by Nigeria to provide surveillance aircraft and intelligence. “We are considering it,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. assistant-secretary of State for African Affairs, said in an interview.

While surveillance drones have been used for humanitarian purposes from the Fukushima radiation disaster to earthquake hit Haiti, experts are divided over how effective they would be in searching for the schoolgirls whose plight has captivated the world.

“From a technical perspective it makes sense,” said military aviation expert Caitlin Lee. “You can see places you probably couldn’t get to on foot.” …

Feeds from around-the-clock surveillance would help analysts on the ground establish patterns of life – movement of people, numbers of people and suspicious activity – that could ostensibly shed light on the girls’ whereabouts.