The mother of Leah Sharibu, the Nigerian girl held by Boko Haram for almost ten months now, asks the world community “do not get tired of praying for her, until she comes back.”
Leah, 15 years old, was kidnapped along with 110 other students when Boko Haram stormed on February 19, 2018 in a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, in the diocese of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.
Those who were released declared that Leah was the only Christian of the group and the terrorists had forced her to convert to Islam, but she had refused.
Leah’s mother, Rebekah, has asked for continued prayers for Leah: “I know that all over the world believers are praying and advocating for the release of my daughter, but until now I haven’t seen my Leah. I want to plead that Christians: do not get tired of praying for her till she returns”.
Her refusal to apostatize from her faith in Christ has made an impact on her father Nathan who said: “My daughter’s trust and faith has made me realize that I have been living under the same roof with an admirable disciple of Christ, I am highly encouraged by her strong faith in the Lord and her refusal to renounce Christ even before death at the hands of Boko Haram”.
In October, the terrorist group released a video threatening to keep Leah as a “slave for life”.
Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, has also added his voice to the request of Leah’s mother during his visit to Malta for the launch of the Report on Religious Freedom in the World a few weeks ago.
The prelate made a strong call to prayer for all the people in the hands of the terrorists: “I invite all of you to pray for Leah and for all those who are captive for refusing to renounce the faith. She chose to remain a Christian even in the face of the possibility of death. Leah stands out for her courage in preserving her Christian faith and identity. We have to pray for all the people held, traumatized and in great danger in the hands of the terrorists. ”
It is estimated that more than 2,000 women, girls and young men remain in Boko Haram captivity. Captives are forced to convert, married off to militants and those who refuse, suffer extreme violence.