15-Year-Old Christian Girl Still Being Held Captive Four Months After Release of Peers
07/17/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Leah Sharibu is still being held by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. It has been 120 days since the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. Sadly, Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl among them, is still in the clutches of Boko Haram. At present, there are no known efforts by the President Buhari-led Nigerian government toward securing Leah’s release, nor the release of the 105 primarily Christian Chibok schoolgirls who have been held captive by Boko Haram since 2014.
ICC spoke with Leah’s father, Nathan, who shared, “There is still no news about our daughter. We need help from whosoever to mount pressure on the federal government of Nigeria to do whatever it can to get our daughter released.” Leah’s father, who is still working and trying to maintain his family’s life in northeastern Nigeria, said of Leah’s mother, “She is feeling lonely and I don’t want her to get too depressed.” He calls on Christians everywhere to continue to pray for the family.
Not only has their 15-year-old daughter been in captivity for a total of five months since the abduction in February, but they also had to send their son to a school that is further away because they fear for his safety. In the midst of these difficult choices, the family continues to live in a region that is vulnerable to attacks by Boko Haram. Just days ago, the terrorists struck a military base close to them, causing many casualties.
Controversy surrounded the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls. Some saw the Nigerian authorities as complicit in the saga. Some believed that public funds were advanced to the insurgent group in order to secure the release of the girls, thereby arming the group to continue its murderous acts. Most wondered why the only Christian girl among them was not released if there was no religious, anti-Christian motivation. Her freed classmates reported that it was because Leah refused Boko Haram’s demand to renounce Christ and convert to Islam.
Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “With the build-up of political activities toward the 2019 elections, it is unclear if the release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls is a priority to the Buhari administration any longer. We, as the concerned international community, must continue to work on behalf of Leah and the other Chibok girls still in captivity. We must not let people forget the danger and suffering that these courageous young women are facing daily.”