05/10/2021 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – This upcoming Friday, May 14th, Leah Sharibu will turn 18 while in her third year under Boko Haram captivity.
Mrs. Sharibu, Leah’s mother, told Punch news that it is her daughters’ refusal to deny Christ that has kept her in captivity all this time:
“I think the reason they have left my daughter in captivity is because she is a Christian. All the other girls that were taken were Muslims and they were all released. But my daughter is still in captivity, I believe, because of her faith. If not, why have they not yet released my daughter? What crime has she committed? She only refused to renounce her Christian faith,” she said.
On February 19, 2018, at 5:30 pm, Leah was among 110 schoolgirls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College located in northeast Nigeria who were kidnapped by the terrorist group. 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 group Boko Haram kept one girl, 14-year-old Leah Sharibu, who remains in captivity today, and has been deemed a “slave for life” by her captors.
Leah has not been allowed any access to family or friends for the past three years. She has reportedly been forced to marry and is believed to have given birth to two children. She has likely been forced to learn Islamic rules and Arabic as the group tries to force her to change to their beliefs. They have also likely used physical torment and mental attacks to try and break her faith in Christ. These kinds of tactics, to include beatings, brainwashing, drugging and sexual abuse have been commonly reported from women who have escaped Boko Haram captivity.
Leah’s mother recently told the Guardian that she was even willing to accept Leah’s husband as an in law if it would mean that she would be freed.
Please continue to pray for Leah Sharibu and her family, including her two young children. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org