ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - Nigeria's president has met today for the first time with parents of 219 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, and with dozens of their classmates who managed to escape from Islamic extremists.
A spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan says he assured them that he's determined to see that those who are still in captivity are "brought out alive." The spokesman says some of the girls described their escapes.
Reporters weren't allowed to speak to the girls and their parents after the meeting. The parents emerged without showing emotion.
Today's meeting came after some parents refused to meet with the Nigerian leader last week. For months, the parents had been asking to see the president, and he finally agreed to do so after a request from Pakistani girls-education activist Malala Yousafzai.
Residents of the community that was home to the kidnapped girls say at least 11 of the parents have died since the kidnapping. Seven died in an attack on the village this month, and four others died of heart attacks and other illnesses that the community blames on the trauma.