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.

    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.


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her bylines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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!

    TAKE ACTION NIGERIANS! YOUR BABIES NEED YOU!

    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!!!!!


    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.