Michelle Obama on Saturday said she was “outraged and heartbroken” over last month’s kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, slamming the Islamist group behind the mass abduction for “attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls”.
Taking over the president’s weekly radio and Internet address on the eve of the American holiday for honoring mothers, the US first lady said that “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”.
In April 14, 276 schoolgirls were abducted in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibook, and eight more girls were kidnapped from Warabe on May 5. Three weeks later 223 girls are still missing.
The first lady said she and her husband President Barack Obama are “outraged and heartbroken” over the abductions, adding that it "was not an isolated incident ... it's a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions."
“In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” Obama said, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. “We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”
Obama noted that more than 65 million girls worldwide do not attend school even though educated women earn more money and have healthier families.
“When more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country’s entire economy,” she said. “So education is truly a girl’s best chance for a bright future, not just for herself, but for her family and her nation.”
The Nigerian government’s inability to rescue the girls nearly a month after they were abducted by the Boko Haram organisation has sparked worldwide outrage, including protests and a social media campaign. The US and other countries have sent teams of technical experts to assist the Nigerian government’s search effort.
President Obama said this week that the US will do everything to help Nigeria find them.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
Date created : 2014-05-10