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Malala meets Nigeria's leader Goodluck Jonathan over abducted school girls

 

Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai has met Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan to press for more action to free at least 200 girls held by Boko Haram Islamist militants. 

The militants' leader has reiterated in a new video message that he is prepared to negotiate a prisoner swap for them.


He also expressed support for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared caliph of a new Middle Eastern state.

Boko Haram sparked a global outcry when it abducted the girls three months ago.

'Birthday wish'
 
Mr Jonathan's government has faced strong criticism for not doing enough to curb violence by Boko Haram, especially in the wake of the kidnappings.
Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai (2nd R) shakes hands on 14 July 2014 with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (R) next to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai (2nd L), and Malala Fund committee member Shiza Shahid (L) at the State House in Abuja.
Malala Yousafzai asked the president to meet relatives of the kidnapped girls
 
Malala met Mr Jonathan in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and urged him to meet the families of the kidnapped girls.

She also met relatives of the girls on Sunday, and expressed solidarity with them. 

BBC Nigeria correspondent Tomi Oladipo says it is highly unusual that the president has not spoken to the relatives, exactly three months after the abductions.

The military has also failed to debrief some of the girls who managed to escape from captivity, he says.
But in a statement after his meeting with Malala, President Jonathan said he would meet with the parents before they left Abuja "to personally comfort them and reassure them" that the government was doing "all within its powers to rescue their daughters".

The notion that the government has not been doing enough to find and rescue the girls was "very wrong and misplaced", the statement said.

"Terror is relatively new here and dealing with it has its challenges. The great challenge in rescuing the Chibok girls is the need to ensure that they are rescued alive," Mr Jonathan said.

After meeting the parents, Malala said she understood their suffering.

"It's quite difficult for a parent to know that their daughter is in great danger. My birthday wish this year is... bring back our girls now, and alive."
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai listens to a parent of one of the kidnapped schoolgirls in Abuja, Nigeria, on 13 July 2014
Malala Yousafzai listens to a parent of one of the kidnapped schoolgirls
 
Children at a blackboard in Nigerian school
Boko Haram is opposed to Western education
 
 
Two years ago, Malala was shot in the head by Pakistani Taliban militants for campaigning for girls' education.

She survived after being airlifted to the UK for treatment.

(BBC)
Nigeria 8175724100591086794

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