(FOX NEWS) The White House said Tuesday the U.S. is preparing to send a team to Nigeria to help the government search for nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted more than three weeks ago by Islamic militants.

The team would likely include military personnel, law enforcement personnel and others with experience in intelligence, investigations, hostage negotiation and victims’ assistance, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“Time is of the essence,” he said, stressing that the kidnappings happened 22 days ago. “Appropriate action must be taken to locate and to free these young women before they are trafficked or killed.”

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