Parents of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Refuse to Meet Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s plan to meet for the first time with parents of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April by Islamist militants was called off after they refused to see him, his spokesman said.

Presidential spokesman Doyin Okupe made the announcement in the capital, Abuja, after Jonathan’s scheduled meeting today with 12 parents and five girls who escaped from the militant group Boko Haram was aborted. Yesterday he held talks with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived a Taliban gun attack two years ago to become a global advocate for girls’ education. She’s visiting Nigeria to bolster a campaign to seek the schoolgirls’ release.

“It is with great regret that I announce the cancellation of the meeting with 12 parents of the abducted Chibok children, as well as five of the brave girls who escaped from the terrorist organization Boko Haram,” Jonathan said in a statement e-mailed by Okupe.

Boko Haram, whose name means “western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, kidnapped the schoolgirls from Chibok in the northeastern state of Borno on April 14, an act that drew international outrage. The group has killed thousands of people since 2009 in its violent campaign to impose Islamic law in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

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