We are reporting difficult news today about kidnapped Nigerian Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu—one month after a faction of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria, the Islamic State West Africa Province is a sect of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. (ISWAP), surfaced a video of an execution of a kidnapped aid worker and issued a one-month deadline to the Nigerian government, threatening to kill Leah and two other kidnapped aid workers abducted during a March 2018 raid on a military facility in Rann.
One month to the day of their recent deadline, ISWAP militants have released a video of the second execution of one of the two remaining kidnapped aid workers, 24-year-old midwife Hauwa Leman. They also threatened to keep Leah Sharibu and the third aid worker, Alice Ngaddah, as “slaves for life.”
In a short clip seen by a special correspondent of Nigerian newspaper The Cable, a spokesperson for the Islamic extremist group said:
“We have kept our word exactly as we said, by killing Hauwa Leman, who is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“Saifura and Hauwa were killed because they are considered as Murtads (apostates) by the group because they were once Muslims that have abandoned their Islam, the moment they chose to work with the Red Cross, and for us, there is no difference between Red Cross and UNICEF.
“If we see them, we will kill the apostates among them, men or women, and choose to kill or keep the infidels as slaves, men or women.”
‘LEAH AND ALICE WILL BE OUR SLAVES’
In the same statement issued today, militants threatened to keep Leah Sharibu and the third aid worker, Alice Ngaddah, as “our slaves, ”The Cable reported.
“From today, Sharibu and Ngaddah are now our slaves. Based on our doctrines, it is now lawful for us to do whatever we want to do with them.”
Both Leah and Alice are Christians. Alice is a mother of two who works with UNICEF. Leah was one of 110 girls kidnapped from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in Dapchi on February 19, 2018. While her Muslim classmates were released through back-channel efforts, Leah was kept captive because she refused to renounce her faith in Christ.
Since then, her parents and Christian groups across Nigeria and the world have pleaded for Leah’s return. A week before the deadline, her mother, Rebecca Sharibu, held a press conference expressing her anguish and begging the government to “bring Leah back.”
“As we are approaching October 15, on Monday, I am pleading with the federal government, and the president, to hear my plea and the plea of Leah’s dad to secure the release of our daughter,” Rebecca said.
Watch footage from Rebecca Sharibu’s recent press conference:
On Sunday, 24 hours before ISWAP’s deadline, the International Committee of the Red Cross urged the group to free the women:
“We urge you: spare and release these women. They are a midwife, a nurse, and a student. Like all those abducted, they are not part of any fight,” said Patricia Danzi, director of ICRC Operations in Africa. “They are daughters and sisters, one is a mother — women with their futures ahead of them, children to raise, and families to return to.”
Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the killing as “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly,” saying “nothing can justify the shedding of the blood of innocent people …
“We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of Saifura Ahmed, the first aid worker. However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors.”
In recent months, ISWAP has issued a number of messages aimed at putting pressure on Nigerian authorities to pay ransoms for the release of Leah and the kidnapped aid workers, without success.
continue to PRAY fervently WITH LEAH SHARIBU AND her family
Pray for God’s protection over Leah physically, mentally and spiritually. We pray that not a hair on this young girl’s head would be touched or harmed. Ask God to reveal to her a vision of His army of warrior angels as they surround her.
Pray for the other hostages with Leah, especially Alice Loksha Ngaddah. God, we ask for her protection and that these two believers would find comfort and courage in each other, praying together.
Pray for strength–that Leah and Alice would be reminded of Your promise to never leave or forsake them. We pray for Your words to flow through their minds.
Pray for peace. We pray for calmness of spirit that only God can provide. Ask God to give Leah, Alice and their families enduring patience, to place peace that passes all our understanding in their hearts and as others see that peace, many will come to know Christ.
Pray for a bold witness. Ask God to be Leah’s and Alice’s light in this darkness and make their lives living testimonies. May their witness be so profound to their captors’ eyes, ears and hearts that they would be opened to the truth.
Pray for comfort. Ask God to be tangibly close to Leah, Alice and their families–that His presence would give them peace, comfort, strength, faith, and even joy as they set their eyes on Him.
Pray for rescue. Pray that God would open closed doors to bring Leah, Alice and the rest of the captives home. Ask God to work a miracle so divine that it would astound her captors and lead many of them to Him. We ask that their captors’ eyes might be open to the heavenly realm and the myriad of angels surrounding them.
Pray for the families of the executed midwives. Ask God to comfort them and provide for them in ways they could never imagine.
Pray for the Nigerian government and President Buhari–that they will be convicted to work diligently and do all they can to release all hostages. Pray that the international community will not remain silent on this, but will assist the government to fulfill their responsibilities towards these citizens.
In Your Son’s name, we pray and ask for these things… #RememberLeah
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! (Ephesians 3: 20-21)