Disturbing reports over the weekend claimed kidnapped Christian Nigeria schoolgirl Leah Sharibu has been killed in captivity. But those fighting for her release—including Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC), which advocates on behalf of hundreds of millions of persecuted Christians worldwide, the Leah Foundation and the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON)—say the reports are unconfirmed and continue to pray for her safety.
According to the news outlet Global Voices, a social aid worker with Action Against Hunger named Grace was captured July 18. Through a video, she begs for her release and references the deaths of Leah and another captive, Alice.
“Save the Persecuted Christians joins the Leah Foundation and ICON in calling for a measured response to an unconfirmed report which implies that Leah Sharibu has been killed,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians. “This report is not verified and may be a diversion tactic. We call upon the government of Nigeria to secure safety for its most vulnerable citizens and to pursue freedom for Leah and thousands of other innocent people taken captive by terrorists in their country. Please keep praying. Leah and her family need our continued prayer and support.”
In June, STPC and ICON hosted several members of a Nigerian delegation in Washington, D.C., to give voice to Nigerian victims to describe the horrors they have suffered. Among them was Leah’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu, and Rebecca Sharibu’s translator, Dr. Glorida Puldu, who also serves as the president of the Leah Foundation. The Leah Foundation was created by the Sharibu family to advocate for Leah’s release and to assist Nigerian children attend school. UNICEF reports 8 million children refuse to go to school for fear of being kidnapped or harmed.
Leah was kidnapped Feb. 19, 2018, along with 109 other girls. Five girls died during the first month. In March 2018, the Nigerian federal government interceded and all the girls remaining in captivity were released—except Leah, who refused to deny Christ and convert to Islam. Last August, Boko Haram released a video of Leah as she pled for her release. A few months later, after threatening to execute her, Boko Haram instead announced plans to keep Leah as a “slave for life” for refusing to renounce Christianity.
The following joint statement was also released late last week by ICON and The Leah Foundation:
Suspicious Video Claims Leah Sharibu Is Dead
There is a renewed debate that Leah Sharibu has been murdered by Boko Haram terrorists. The recent video of a kidnapped woman wearing a blue hijab and calling herself “Grace” made claims that can neither be confirmed or rejected.
The International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) has questioned the authenticity of the video; the staging of the recording is atypical, and the absence of signature markings of Boko Haram or Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) on the video is also uncharacteristic.
“True, the video and story were reported by Cable News and Views, which broke the October story,” stated Mr. Kyle Abts, ICON Director and Sharibu family friend, “but it is still unverified.”
He is concerned because “the Nigerian federal government remains silent.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News