Washington - The Pentagon is considering sending military advisers to Nigeria to train local troops to fight Boko Haram insurgents and boost security in the violence-wracked nation, says a US official.
The defence official said the US military made a string of recommendations after Nigeria's leaders asked for help determining "possible courses of action" in the fight against the Islamist militants.
One recommendation was to send a group of US advisers - most likely special operations troops - to Nigeria to train local forces. They would not be in a combat role.
Such a mission would be a resumption of an earlier Pentagon effort that Nigeria stopped in late 2014 amid US concerns of suspected Nigerian army abuses and its failure to protect civilians, as well as strained diplomatic ties stemming in part from the US blocking of Nigerian efforts to buy Cobra attack helicopters.
The official said ties had improved under the new Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, who has vowed to do more than his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan to fight Boko Haram.
The New York Times first reported the potential deployment, saying the Pentagon was poised to send "dozens" of special operations advisers to Maiduguri, the capital of northeast Borno state.
"I don't think anyone is ready to approve anything today," the official said. "Recommendations were made...these are still being assessed."