News / Africa

Malala Speaks Up for Abducted Nigerian Girls

FILE - Malala Yousafzai during a news conference in London, March 7, 2014.
FILE - Malala Yousafzai during a news conference in London, March 7, 2014.
Carla Babb

When girls are targeted by terrorists, no matter where they are in the world, it hits home for Malala Yousafzai.

In 2012, she was shot and nearly killed by the Pakistani Taliban because of her efforts to promote education for women and girls. The attack only amplified her voice.

In an exclusive interview with VOA's Deewa service, the Pakistani human rights activist said she considers it her "duty" to speak up for the more than 200 teenage girls kidnapped by Islamic radical group Boko Haram in Nigeria.

"I stand up with those girls for their rights ... and I request the whole world that they should also raise their voices for those girls," Yousafzai said recently.

Boko Haram – whose name in Hausa means “Western education is a sin” – abducted the girls from a secondary school in the Nigerian town of Chibok on April 14. The militants killed hundreds of students, both male and female, in previous attacks on schools.

"I believe that every girl has the right to go to school,” said Yousafzai, who’ll turn 17 on July 12.  “And girls in Nigeria also have the right to go to school.  It’s their right to go to school to get education, as it is the right of girls in the developed countries."

In late June, suspected Islamist militants carried out another mass kidnapping in the same region – the northeast state of Borno – seizing 60 women and girls.

Yousafzai is worried for their safety.

"We don’t know in what conditions those girls are,” she said. “They are all alone, they are without their families, and no one knows what feelings they would have at this time."

Nigerian authorities have been unable to rescue the girls, despite intelligence and surveillance help from the United States and other countries.

Officials have expressed concern that any military operation to free the girls would endanger their lives.

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Comment Sorting
by: john suleimani from: NC USA
July 07, 2014 11:54 AM
The government of Nigeria should accept to negotiate by whatever means to release the girls, this is the cry of every normal human being..these girls lives have been taken for granted by their own government! Take action!

by: igyundunase,Dominic Sharp from: Benue state Nigeria
July 05, 2014 1:54 AM
Malala,keep the fire burning.You're the heroin.

by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, Vietnam
July 04, 2014 11:34 AM
We love you, Malala !!!

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 04, 2014 9:05 AM
@1worldnow,if u must know this is not my first time of speaking out against Malala due to her slow response and her inability to make our girls news an every day cry out just as her own case was exposed which put shame on her attackers,she does not need any form of ovation to speak out on d inability of the media to cry out till the girls are released no matter how long it may take because that is the wright thing to do,not knowing the happenings to the girls never mean the cry for them on d media should be stopped,I cry every minute I sense the trauma our girls are going trough and we can fight it by calling on any media that values life to speak out,Malala has the ability to champion the cry and I don't see anything reasonable enough for her to do than to cry out every day via the media and her position. #OurgirlsMustbefree.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 04, 2014 11:28 PM
Oh, and Sunny, you have to reply directly to my comments or I will not know if you are trying to talk to me. I just happened to see your reply by accident, and I am happy to hear from you. I wish for all of us to hear more from your people. Please encourage your fellow citizens to actively engage in this forum, all forums to express your cares and concerns for the world to hear. The leaders of the world don't listen to the citizens of the world, so we can only rely on each other, regardless if we disagree or not. Children first, always!!!!! Without children, humanity will disappear!
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 04, 2014 11:21 PM
Never will it be OK to attack in any way shape or form for anyone who expresses care and concern about children, especially what is happening to yours in Nigeria! All our tears are flowing, and the situation has gotten worse for your babies. Even as much as Malala's voice may be media driven, so what! We need more like her in the world. The media uses all of us, and your children are still suffering. 11 weeks, or 11 days, or 11 seconds is far too much time for these little girls to be in the hands of evil animals like Boko Haram. Our tears, our prayers, our comments are not enough for them, nor is it fair to them. These little girls expect more from us than our pathetic rhetoric between each other.

Instead of attacking Malala, when will your fellow Nigerians show the world that you will not stand for this and you will save these girls and crush the disease known as Boko Haram? All of you, all Nigerians! Tell your fellow Nigerians to put aside petty differences, stop those world scams about fake lotteries, fake inheritances and take action! Your babies need you guys more than ever! Don't wait for international help, because Goodluck Jonathan had proven to be nothing more than Badluck Jonathan to your children.

Goodluck Jonathan has held back the most powerful nations in the world, that can crush Boko Haram in just a few hours! Goodluck Jonathan has expressed safety concerns of these girls if extreme military action is taken. Don't you think that is not an issue anymore? More girls have been taken, and Boko Haram is getting stronger by the day!

The men of Nigeria should band together, crush Boko Haram at all costs and save what little girls you can. If any of them do die because you guys take action (and we pray with all our might that doesn't happen), what these evil animals are doing to them, I'm sure they will understand you are doing what is vital! If the Nigerian citizens will do this, toss Goodluck out, and show the world that when you mess with one Nigerian, you mess with ALL NIGERIANS!

You may not like Malala, OK, but for me, it doesn't matter. As much as I totally despise Putin and wish for his non-existence, if Putin were to speak for your little girls, I would stand next to him and hold his hand. No matter how much we can hate each other, wish for each other's destruction, when it comes to our children, the children of the world, we all should not tolerate mistreatment, abuses, rapes, abductions EVER! No matter who speaks out against it!


by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 04, 2014 7:04 AM
It is truly sad that the world has forgotten these little girls, and more are being taken!!!! Sunny Enwerem attacked Malala for showing care and concern for what most people in the world have easily forgotten because the agenda driven media decided that these little school girls aren't important enough to make there media empires any money. Malala cares for the sufferage of females all over the world who are oppressed. But not a single comment from anyone from Nigeria, except Sunny! And he attacked Malala, not Boko Haram!!!!

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 04, 2014 5:53 AM
Medicine after death,Let her go and hide her face, this is 11 weeks after the abduction,would she have survived if she was left for a day during her own situation? Now she speaks, FOR WHO?if I may ask?
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 04, 2014 7:00 AM
Not really sure why you are angry with this girl? Not sure why you yourself haven't expressed more rage than any of us about your own little girls being kidnapped by terrorists who have by now, done things to them that they will never recover. But you adamantly attack Malala, why? Just curious. After all, you haven't raised any concern for these precious little girls or the evil that Boko Haram is doing to YOUR LITTLE GIRLS IN YOUR COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But attacking Malala feels so much better. Good for you!

Since you won't express anger towards Boko Haram, then you must be waiting in line to get your choice of the kidnapped girls. I bet Goodluck Jonathan was first in line! Lucky guy! Try not to pick a little school girl that has already been brutally raped and beaten. Good luck with that. Has my sarcasm angered you? Will you attack me just like Malala for expressing concern over YOUR LITTLE GIRLS BEING KIDNAPPED RAPED BEATEN MURDERED IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! bad bad bad Malala! Shame on you for speaking concerns for these little girls! Nigerian men like Sunny love kidnapped school girls, because he has no clue how to get a real woman, because kidnapping a real woman is much more a challenge than a little school girl!!!! Come on Sunny, bring on the fury!!!!!

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