News / Africa

First Lady: 'Outrage' Over Mass Abduction

First Lady Michelle Obama's post on Twitter on abducted Nigerian schoolgirls (White House).
First Lady Michelle Obama's post on Twitter on abducted Nigerian schoolgirls (White House).
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama's wife Michelle says she and her husband are "outraged" over the April 14 kidnapping of more than 300 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria. 

One day before Americans celebrate Mothers' Day, the first lady stepped in for the president to deliver his weekly broadcast address to the nation, expressing empathy for parents of the 276 girls who are still missing. 

"In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," she said. "We see their hopes and their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now."

The first lady also spoke out against the Boko Haram terrorist group that kidnapped the girls. Its leader has said the group intends to sell the girls into slavery.

"This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education — grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls," she said.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh called the group "misguided" and said the militants had "shown their wrong path."

Separately, the top religious leader in the birthplace of Islam said Boko Haram has been set up to "smear the image of Islam."

Story continues below video

The United States and other countries have sent teams of technical experts to help the Nigerian government in its search effort.

"I want you to know that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government's efforts to find these girls and bring them home," Mrs. Obama said.

Abuja criticized

Nigeria's government has been sharply criticized for its inability to rescue the girls, almost a month after they were taken. But a Nigerian army spokesman, General Chris Olukolade, says it has been a difficult job.

"Some of the information given has turned out, in many occasions, to be misleading and to be exhausting of the search teams," said Olukolade. "Nevertheless, this will not discourage the collaborative efforts that are ongoing."

Rescuing the girls unharmed is the main challenge, according to the director general of the Nigeria Orientation Agency, Mike Omeha.

During a Friday appearance with British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the kidnappers would fail in their attempts to keep the girls' whereabouts unknown.

"There is nowhere that they can take these girls to," he said, adding that he not be able to sleep with his "two eyes closed" until the girls are free. "They have no hiding place."

On Friday, Amnesty International said Nigerian security forces failed to act on warnings that began coming in more than four hours before Boko Haram attacked the girls' school.

The human rights group blamed the lack of action on an "inability to muster troops," due to poor resources and a possible fear of engaging with the often better-armed militants.

In another development, suspected Islamist militants abducted the wife and two children of a retired police officer during an overnight attack in northern Nigeria.

Local officials and witnesses told VOA on Saturday that the attack took place late Friday in Liman Kara. The town is in the region where the Nigerian government has been battling Boko Haram.

Witnesses say the attackers overpowered local security officials and then set homes on fire and blew up a bridge.

Boko Haram, which wants to impose Islamic Sharia law on Nigeria, has killed more than 1,500 people this year.

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Comment Sorting
by: saundra ann from: arizona
May 12, 2014 10:19 AM
How lame--the first lady standing and holding a sign in protest. Creative, to say the least.

by: AmericanHorseman from: America
May 11, 2014 9:45 AM
Outraged. ? What a shame these traitors are not even saddened by Benghazi but they are "outraged" at something in Nigeria. I wonder if these "people" have ever heard the word "Priorities"?

by: Anonymous
May 11, 2014 12:07 AM
I really wish VOA would do a better job of moderating their discussion boards. It's not about suppressing viewpoints; it's about keeping the discussion boards on-topic.

by: No US propaganda from: Bahamas
May 10, 2014 9:36 PM
How funny to see / What about killed children and humans in Ukraine by own army?! Shame on US double standards to the rest of world. US had started more than 100 wars and conflicts everywhere in the World for last 100 years.Peaceful country, no doubts. their motto- if u do not have a democracy we are going to built !
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
May 12, 2014 11:26 AM
100 wars !
I am all ears.
Would you mind list & number them one by one for the record

by: ali baba from: new york
May 10, 2014 1:40 PM
it is another wake up call. the Us Gov. believe that Islam is a peaceful religion. The us Gov. blame Bashar al Assad for Syria civil war but they do not blame the Muslim brotherhood for killing innocent children and targeting children and Christian. still the us Gov. has not classified Muslim brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

by: johnnico from: USA
May 10, 2014 12:59 PM
This has been going on for centuries. When the Western Europeans started to colonize the African Continent, they split the land into "countries". The Reality, though, is that the African Continent was and still is tribal. And these boundaries still mean nothing. When the slave trade started in the 16th century, warring tribal factions sold of their enemy neighbors to the Portuguese, Dutch, English and Spanish traders. Who eventually ended up in South and North America---mostly South, though. Tens of millions. Today, in the 21st Century, these tribal disputes still occur, and, one of the ritualistic parts of these conflicts is raping and pillaging of young women. It has been happening for centuries.

by: Justin from: san diego
May 10, 2014 11:51 AM
Shes outraged about these 200 girls but what about the 200 children her husbands administration killed with drone strikes? Shes a Hypocrite.
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
May 12, 2014 11:41 AM
To Meanbill,

"you're right when you say, where's the outrage for all the hundreds or thousands of innocent men, women and children, and babies killed by the US killer drone bombs?"

your casual remark is a baseless accusation in disguise ,somehow, I picture you as one of those chinese communist agents who tirelessly accuse my country at every turn .

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
May 11, 2014 11:52 AM
the fact .drone attack can kill 5or 6 people maximum. for the calculator of menbill that 100.000 die as result of drone attack .this is a lie united stated army does not have the capacity of 20.000 drone attack. properly I forget the math which I used to teach, but my eyes and my ear watch the news . I see Muslim are acting as an actor and pretend hat they are victim ,and the fact they are the aggressor who kidnapped 300 girls. they force one million to flee from home in Syria . they kill children and rape woman but the end od the day they acted as poor people whom their babies killed by drone. we are not stupid to believe them anymore
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
May 10, 2014 6:48 PM
It'd be a nightmare for any father or mother to lose their daughters to kidnappers -- (BUT?) -- you're right when you say, where's the outrage for all the hundreds or thousands of innocent men, women and children, and babies killed by the US killer drone bombs?
Michele Obama was outraged and did say, "In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters" -- (and I guess the innocent girls killed by the US Killer Drone bombs), didn't look like their own daughters? -- Crazy isn't it, how people identify themselves with others, isn't it?
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
May 10, 2014 1:48 PM
why you do not radical Muslim for spreading hate message which resulted for civil war in Syria , Sudan .Lebanon. how many American soldiers killed by road side bomb. How many Egyptian flee for their lives from the violent against them form Muslim brotherhood. How many Christian girls raped by gang of Muslim fanatic. Do not cry for thugs who committed crime,

by: meanbill from: USA
May 10, 2014 11:33 AM
IF ONLY the US President didn't promise the African Union the US wouldn't use US Killer Drones in Africa, to kill African innocents, extremists, terrorists, or political opposition groups?
WHY? -- They'd be of good use in Nigeria now, wouldn't they be?
In Response

by: Phillip from: Tasmania
May 11, 2014 8:07 AM
If it was my daughter, i would decimate anyone or anything that tried to hurt her.. i would never stop, EVER. Im different i guess and not liable to the media dribble spread from mouth to mouth without knowing the actual Truth,. That the difference between someone with a global religion based ideology and someone corrupt as a human. Someone saying the education is bad and using it to video the response, is the sign of a true dog.

by: Juan Pablo from: California
May 10, 2014 8:59 AM
This is why feminism must defended in the world today. Too many men in too many cultures think they have a natural right over women (girls in this case) and that they can do whatever they want with this. This is a very dangerous mindset!

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