On Sunday, May 14, Leah Sharibu will spend her 20th birthday the same way she spent the last six: in captivity.
Leah was just 14 when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram along with 110 schoolgirls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in northeast Nigeria. After a month of negotiations between the Nigerian government and terrorist group, 104 of the 105 girls left alive were released from captivity and returned home to their families.
To this day, Leah is the only girl imprisoned. Why? For refusing to renounce her Christian faith, according to multiple former Boko Haram prisoners who had contact with her.
Leah’s case has been the subject of worldwide outrage and helps illustrate the way Islamist terrorism affects Christian communities in Nigeria. The Nigerian government, though outwardly sympathetic to Leah’s situation, has seemed to do little to rescue her.
Leah allegedly has been married off to one of her abductors and is rumored to have two children. It is hard to know her current state because she is not allowed to see her family. The only news comes from survivors of Boko Haram who have escaped or been released.
The international community must continue to champion Leah’s cause and demand that she be released. It must also pressure the Nigerian government to take a more active role in defending innocent Christians in the Middle Belt and northern parts of Nigeria.
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. — International Christian Concern