ABUJA: Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan promised on Monday that more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militants would “soon” return home, teenage Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai said after meeting him.
Malala was visiting Nigeria to support an international campaign for the release of the teenage students abducted in mid-April by the insurgent group Boko Haram. The teenager met parents of the schoolgirls snatched from the northeastern village of Chibok by Boko Haram fighters. The Nigerian girls’ plight triggered an international #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign supported by Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie. This drew global attention to the war in Nigeria’s northeast and the growing security risk that Boko Haram poses to Nigeria, Africa’s leading energy producer.
But, with the girls still missing three months after their April 14 kidnap, Jonathan faces criticism at home and abroad over the deteriorating security situation. “The president promised me ... that the abducted girls will return to their homes soon,” Malala, who has called the 219 missing students her “sisters”, told a news conference after a 45-minute meeting with Jonathan at the presidential villa. She did not say whether the Nigerian leader had given her any fresh details of the military search operation for the girls to support his assurance.
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