Leah Sharibu reported alive in Nigeria

January 21, 2020 by Lindy Lowry in Africa

Our field is reporting news about kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu. On January 19, a recently released hostage said that while she was a captive of the Boko Haram splinter group called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)—the same group who abducted and refused to release Leah—she spoke with Alice Ngaddah who reported that Leah “is alive and doing well.” Alice is a Christian aid worker also kidnapped by ISWAP March 1, 2018.

The former captive, Jennifer Ukambong Samuel, is an aid worker who was kidnapped by ISWAP on December 22 and was released January 16.

Unkambong told media on Sunday, January 19, that she visited Alice Ngaddah in her home in the Sambisa forest where she is providing injured terrorists with medical treatment. Alice, Unkambong said, told her that both Leah and Grace are alive. Reportedly, Alice asked for prayer and said that “she had left everything to God.”

In October 2018, ISWAP released a statement saying that Leah and Alice would be “slaves for life.” In a video, Grace Taku, another hostage kidnapped in July 2019, implied that both Leah and Alice had been killed in captivity. However the Nigerian government quickly refuted the claim.

 Citing intelligence from security agencies, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu released a statement reaffirming that the government is negotiating with terrorists for the release of Leah and other captives.

“Contrary to false reports, she [Leah] is alive, given assurances from our security agencies, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families,” Shehu said. “Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”

Since being abducted February 19, 2018 during an attack on the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in the northeastern village of Dapchi, Leah has been held captive. When more than 100 of her Muslim classmates were released a month later through backchannel efforts, Leah was the only one not allowed to return home because she refused to renounce Jesus. She is now 16.

“We thank the Lord for Jennifer and her colleagues’ release and for the ray of hope about the other female captives, including Leah,” says Jo Newhouse, part of Open Doors’  Africa team. “However, they all need more. Open Doors strongly urges Nigerian President Buhari to continue his efforts to liberate the hostages held by Boko Haram.”

Open Doors is also asking Nigeria’s government to create a staff position who acts as a liaison between the government and the traumatized families of kidnapping victims.

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Continue to pray fervently with Leah Sharibu and other captives

Open Doors is calling on believers around the world to continue in fervent prayer for the release of these and other captives and for His sustaining grace to all loved ones eagerly hoping to be reunited.

  • Pray for God’s protection over Leah, Alice and Grace physically, mentally and spiritually. We pray that not a hair on their heads would be touched or harmed. Ask God to reveal to them a vision of His army of warrior angels as they surround them.
  • Pray for the other hostages with Leah including Alice Ngaddah and Grace Taku. God, we ask for their protection and that they would find comfort and courage in each other, praying together.
  • Pray for strength–that they 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 them 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 their 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 them 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 them 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)

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