Michelle Obama Speaks Out on Missing Nigerian Girls

On Saturday morning, First Lady Michelle Obama condemned Boko Haram during the president's weekly internet and radio address. Speaking the dat before Mother's Day, Obama criticized the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls by the group last month, calling it "an unconscionable act." The address came just days after she posted a picture to Twitter of herself holding a sign that read #BringBackOurGirls.

"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," Obama said in her 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 girls." Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group claiming responsibility for the kidnappings, stands against Western-style education, particularly for girls.

The first lady compared the kidnapped girls to activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for supporting education for girls. "The girls themselves also knew full well the dangers they might encounter," Obama said. "Their school had recently been closed due to terrorist threats…but these girls still insisted on returning to take their exams."

In addition to defending the president's handling of the abduction, Obama asked listeners to pray for the kidnapped students' safe return. She also urged students with easier access to education to take some perspective: "I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted – any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out – I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education."