Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, pledged Sunday while on a trip to Nigeria to help free a group of school girls abducted by Islamist militants. Earlier in the day Malala met with some parents of the more than 200 girls who were kidnapped by militant group Boko Haram from a Nigerian school in April. A #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign was since boosted by Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie to pressure authorities to find the the hostages who have not yet been freed.
Boko Haram, a Taliban-inspired movement, say they are fighting to establish an Islamic state in religiously mixed Nigeria. The group, whose name means "Western education is sinful", has killed thousands and abducted hundreds since launching an uprising in 2009.
Some of the parents broke down into tears as Malala spoke at a hotel in the capital Abuja on Sunday.
"I can see those girls as my sisters ... and I'm going to speak up for them until they are released," said Malala, who will celebrate her 17th birthday on Monday in Nigeria, where she is scheduled to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan. "My birthday wish this year is... bring back our girls now and alive."
First published July 13 2014, 7:10 AM