Nigeria | Leah Sharibu Still Missing

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By Emily Watt | 22 February 2021

It has now been three years since Leah Sharibu was kidnapped by Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram. Her parents haven’t heard from her since.

On 19 February 2018, over 100 girls were abducted from their school in Nigeria. Leah was one of them.

Tragically, one of the girls died in captivity. All the other girls were later released – except Leah who refused to deny her Christian faith. Since then, Leah has spent her 15th, 16th and 17th birthdays in captivity.

While Leah’s wellbeing went largely unknown, Leah’s parents were informed last year, through another woman who had escaped captivity, that Leah was still alive. Although the woman hadn’t seen Leah, she knew another who had.

“I think it is safe to say that Leah is alive,” Said Rev. Gideo Para Mallam, a friend of the Sharibu family.

“But the silence from her captors and from the federal government is absolutely not good. Indeed, no official news has come out about Leah this past year, neither from her kidnappers nor from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The silence is troubling.”

Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors in sub-Saharan Africa, recognised that silence might come from caution, but also calls for compassion: “We understand that hostage negotiations do not appreciate media attention because it makes the water murky. However, there can be much more compassion towards the families of captives, and that is why Open Doors has beenurging for a dedicated position within government with the sole purpose of maintaining an active family liaison and an open and accessible channel of communication with the traumatised parents of the hostages.”

However, despite ongoing challenges, Rev. Mallam maintains that the Sharibu family remains hopeful that their daughter, now nearly 18-years-old, will soon return: “This whole experience has not broken their spirit. I am very glad about that because we have been constantly praying and working for that not to happen. We need to uphold them in prayer so that their spirits are not broken.”

Image: Leah Sharibu.

Pray For Nigeria: 

  • Pray for Leah’s safe return and recovery.
  • Pray God will continue comforting the Sharibu family, reminding them of His perfect power and plan.
  • Pray the Nigerian government would move with wisdom and boldness to combat extremism and support the affected families.

Stay updated with the latest prayer requests from the persecuted church. 

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