Michelle Obama: 'In these girls, Barack and I see our own
daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams - and we can
only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right
now.' Photo Reuters
US first lady Michelle Obama has taken the rare step of
delivering her husband President Barack Obama's weekly radio
address to express outrage over the kidnapping of some 200
girls in Nigeria last month.
"Like millions of people across the globe, my husband and I
are outraged and heartbroken over the kidnapping of more than
200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle
of the night," Mrs. Obama said in the address.
"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
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said on Friday he
believed the girls, abducted by militant Islamist group Boko
Haram, were still in his country.
Militants stormed a secondary school in the village of
Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on April 14, and kidnapped
the girls, who were taking exams at the time. Fifty have
since escaped, but more than 200 remain with the insurgents.
The United States offered this week to send a team of experts
to Nigeria to support the government's response effort, which
has been criticized for being slow.
"I want you to know that Barack has directed our government
to do everything possible to support the Nigerian
government's efforts to find these girls and bring them
home," Mrs. Obama said.
"In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see
their hopes, their dreams - and we can only imagine the
anguish their parents are feeling right now."
The first lady noted that the school where the girls were
abducted had been closed recently because of terrorist
threats, but the girls insisted on coming back to take exams.
"They were so determined to move to the next level of their
education...so determined to one day build careers of their
own and make their families and communities proud," she said.
"And what happened in Nigeria 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."