Islamist militants Boko Haram have released a video apparently showing about 130 girls kidnapped from a school in northern Nigeria on 14 April.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the children would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed. Interior Minister Abba Moro rejected the deal, telling the BBC that it was "absurd" for a "terrorist group" to try to set conditions. Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls and threatened to sell them.
Three of the girls - wearing full-length cloaks - are shown speaking in the 27-minute video, obtained by French news agency AFP. Two girls say they were Christian and have converted to Islam, while the other says she is Muslim. "These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with... we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims," Abubakar Shekau says in the video.
Three girls are seen speaking in the video and one says the group have not been harmed
It is thought the majority of the abducted girls are Christians, although there are a number of Muslims among them. A man who is related to three of the abducted girls said the video at first gave him hope, but then made him anxious and tearful. "Maybe they are converted into another religion by force, so it truly is a kind of terrifying situation," said the man, who did not want to be named.
Local officials said they had started making copies of the video to show relatives and friends of the abducted girls in an attempt to identify them. Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", had previously said the girls should not have been at school and should get married instead. The militants have been engaged in a violent campaign against the Nigerian government since 2009.
At just 17, Malala Yousafzai has already made an incredible impact on the world, and today she made history when she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. It marks just one of Malala's several inspiring moments over the last couple years. This past Summer, Malala wrote about her past in a Washington Post opinion piece, highlighting her path to the international spotlight. She said, "I have already lived what many people might say is a lifetime . . . I was 15 when I was shot by the Taliban and almost died but was given another life. I was 16 when I once again raised my voice for girls' rights and education, this time on an international stage."
She turned 17 on July 12, and Malala's birthday was declared Malala Day by the United Nations last year. In 2013, she also became the youngest person to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Price, she was featured on the cover of Time as part of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" piece, and she beat out NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought. There was also her moving appearance on The Daily Show last Fall, when Jon Stewart quite appropriately called her "one of the finest examples of the human spirit." See some of Malala's most inspiring quotes below, plus a few of her TV appearances.
In a speech delivered at the UN General Assembly:
- "One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution." - "We realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced."
As part of Glamour's Women of the Year feature:
- "I said to myself, Malala, you must be brave. You must not be afraid of anyone. You are only trying to get an education. You are not committing a crime." - "Do not wait for me to do something for your rights. It's your world and you can change it."
In The Washington Post:
- "We cannot sit on the sidelines and let this continue. Each of us is responsible. We cannot rest until we have justice and freedom for every girl and every boy." - "I know that my small contribution is not enough. But it is a start; I am just one girl." - "We all may seem different from far away. But up close, we face the same fears, and we own the same courage, if we only look deeply enough to recognize it."
The father of Malala Yousafzai, one of this year's two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, tells VOA he is proud his teenaged daughter has emerged as a voice for peace from a region affected by terrorism and extremism. Ziauddin Yousafzai told VOA's Deewa service that he wants his 17-year-old daughter to focus on her education. He said Malala was in her chemistry class at school when the news that she had won the Nobel Peace Prize was announced.
He said his daughter is happy to have won the prize, but feels the burden of responsibility that comes with it. He says Malala will continue to work for girls' education and peace. The Pakistan-born Malala is the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner. She said Friday she accepted her award on behalf of "all those children who are voiceless."
U.S. President Barack Obama said in a White House statement Friday that Malala has inspired people around the world. “When the Taliban tried to silence her," he said, "Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve.” Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban on her school bus in 2012 because of her efforts to promote education for girls in Pakistan.
She was quick to praise her co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Indian child rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Sixty-year-old Satyarthi has spent more than three decades at the forefront of a movement aimed at freeing children from slave labor. He is the first Indian-born winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In an interview with VOA's Urdu service, Satyarthi said the award is a recognition of the pain and suffering of millions of children working as bonded laborers.
Malala Yousafzai became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize today, accepting the award together with Kailash Satyarthi, the Indian children’s rights advocate, and delivering a powerful speech arresting in its utter straightforwardness. On a day when headlines are dominated by the release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s grave and long-delayed indictment of the CIA’s torture practices, the seventeen-year-old Yousafzai stood at a podium in Oslo’s City Hall and posed some very simple questions: “Why is it that countries which we call ‘strong’ are so powerful in creating wars but so weak in bringing peace?” she asked. “Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard?”
“This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change,” she said. “I am here to stand up for their rights to raise their voice.”
Malala became the youngest ever recipient of the Peace Prize during a lavish ceremony in Oslo attended by dignitaries including King Harald V of Norway. She was jointly awarded the prestigious prize along with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi after the Norwegian Nobel committee recognized her "heroic struggle" for girls' right to education.
Malala received two standing ovations -- at the beginning and end of her address -- as well as several rounds of sustained applause. “Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace?” she asked. “Why is it that giving guns is so easy, but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard?”
Pakistani Taliban terrorists from an outfit that once tried to bomb Times Square took bloody revenge on their country’s army Tuesday by barging into a Peshawar military school and slaughtering their children. Moving from classroom to classroom, the murderous militants — armed with automatic weapons and grenades — cut a sickening swath through the school and set off at least three explosions.
In one room, the brutes burned a teacher alive in front of her terrified pupils, witnesses said. In the auditorium, they shot cowering students in the head. And when they were finally cornered by Pakistani commandos after a nine-hour siege, they blew themselves up rather than surrender.
Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Nobel Prize-winner who survived being shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls, said Tuesday she was weeping for the students slaughtered in Peshawar. “I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us,” Malala said in a statement. “Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” she wrote. “I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable.”
It was one of the worst mass killings in Pakistani history and the ferocity and deliberate targeting of innocent kids stunned a country where 50,000 people have been killed by terrorist violence since 2001. The group responsible for the carnage was Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP — the same group that dispatched Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, to bomb Times Square in 2010. His attempt ended in failure.