World

Malala Hopes To Bring New Focus To Nigeria's Missing Girls

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai is in Nigeria to campaign for the release of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram months ago.

Malala Hopes To Bring New Focus To Nigeria's Missing Girls
Malala Fund
SMS

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist who famously survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, celebrated her seventeenth birthday this weekend in Nigeria, where she's campaigning for the safe return of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls still held captive by the militant group Boko Haram. (Via Getty Images, Malala Fund)

"They are my sisters, and I am going to speak up for them until they are released." (Via  ITN)

Over the weekend, Malala met with some of the parents of the kidnapped girls, who were abducted from a schoolhouse near the village of Chibok in April. She also met with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and urged his administration to do more to rescue the kidnapped girls. (Via BBC)

The kidnappings initially prompted widespread outrage and an international campaign on social media labeled #BringBackOurGirls. But international attention has waned after months without much progress.

Malala's visit is meant to bring the global spotlight back to Nigeria and to women's education worldwide. Her nonprofit organization, the Malala Fund, recently started a new social media push to support universal education and women's rights.

But on the same weekend as Malala's visit, Boko Haram's leader released a new video mocking efforts to free the girls.

ABUBAKER SHEKAU: "Bring back our girls, ohh. Bring back our army." (Via CBS)

Boko Haram has taken credit for several horrific attacks since the kidnappings, most recently last month's bombings in Lagos and the Nigerian capital Abuja. Malala appealed directly to the group during an interview with ABC's Amy Robach.

"What they are doing is badly impacting, badly affecting the name of Islam. It's not the real Islam. So they should think about their own sisters and they should release those girls."

Boko Haram's leadership is demanding Nigeria release captured militants in exchange for the girls, a demand Jonathan's government has refused to accept.