After Hundreds of Schoolgirls are Released from Captivity, Leah Sharibu’s Parents Urge President Buhari to Keep His Promise

“Now that you are able to find [solutions] to rescue those in captivity, we believe that you should be able to bring Leah and others in captivity home if you choose to do so.” – Rebecca and Nathan Sharibu to President Muhammadu Buhari 

03/09/2021 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – The 279 schoolgirls kidnapped from the Government Girls Science School in Jangebe, Nigeria last week were released on Tuesday and have been safely returned to their families.

“279 girls were released, which is different from the original reports claiming 317 girls were kidnapped”, stated the Christian Post, adding that “no group has claimed responsibility for the abduction.” 

On Friday, February 26th, armed insurgents raided the all-girls boarding school in Zamfara state at around midnight. Schoolgirls were forced into vehicles or taken by foot to the nearby Rugu forest.

The abduction is just one of several mass kidnappings in Nigeria that has taken place in recent months. On February 17th, 42 people were kidnapped from the Government Science College in Niger State and were released ten days later. In December, 350 boys were kidnapped from a secondary school in northwestern Katsina, later to be rescued by security forces.

While hundreds of parents reunite with their children, Rebecca and Nathan Sharibu have released an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari concerning the release of their own daughter.

“The letter questioned why other captives were rescued in less than a week, while Leah has remained in captivity for over three years.” Reported Emily Wood of the Christian Post. “Rebecca and Nathan Sharibu released an open letter to Buhari published by Nigerian media Monday morning. Their daughter has been held captive for three years after being abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from her school in northeast Nigeria in 2018”. 

The following are excerpts from the letter of which the Christian Post obtained from the Leah Foundation.

“Mr. President, you have promised me on the phone that my daughter will soon be [released] because negotiations are going on and not long Leah will be returned home but it has been over two years since you made that promise and Leah is now three years in captivity,” the Sharibu’s wrote in the letter released by Gloria Puldu, executive director of the Leah Foundation.

“Sir we plead with you to put yourself in our position and assume that Leah is your daughter how would you [feel] knowing that she is in captivity just because she was courageous to refuse to renounce her faith?… Leah is denied her freedom for three years just for that reason. Now that you are able to find [solutions] to rescue those in captivity, we believe that you should be able to bring Leah and others in captivity home if you choose to do so.”

On February 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm, Boko Haram kidnapped 110 schoolgirls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College located in northeast Nigeria. After a month of negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, 104 out of the 105 girls left alive were released from captivity and returned home to their families. The jihadist militant terrorist group Boko Haram kept one girl, 14-year-old Leah Sharibu, who remains in captivity today due to her refusal to deny Christ and convert to Islam. For the past three years she has been held hostage and deemed a “slave for life” by her captors.

Please continue to pray for Leah Sharibu and her family. Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian government. Pray that Leah will be released, and that the Lord will ease the burdens of the trauma that she and her family have experienced. Pray for the healing of Nigeria, for the end of mass abductions and killings, and for the Lord to transform the hearts of those who persecute the church.

For interviews please contact Alison Garcia at press@persecution.org

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