This weekend marked the four-year anniversary of the abduction of a teenage girl by the radical Islamic group Boko Haram.
The girl, Leah Sharibu, was 14 at the time of the abduction. According to reports, she is still in their custody because she refuses to reject her Christian faith. She turns 19 on May 14.
According to CBN News, in February 2018, around 50 armed men belonging to the radical group stormed the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in Dapchi, a town in Nigeria’s Yobe state. The men took 110 young girls.
Five of the girls died while being held captive, and 104 were released about a month after their initial kidnapping.
But Boko Haram has said they will not let Sharibu go until she renounces her faith and converts to Islam. They’ve called her a “slave for life” because of her refusal to convert to Islam.
International Christian Concern says that Sharibu was possibly married off to one of the men and may have two children.
Sharibu’s father told reporters that Sharibu will not renounce her faith.
“My daughter is alive, but they said she is a Christian, and that is why they cannot release her,” Nata Sharibu said. “They gave her the option of converting in order to be released, but she said she will never become a Muslim.
“I am happy too because my daughter did not denounce Christ,” he said.
International Christian Concern has asked that Christians worldwide pray for Sharibu and her family.
“She chose faith over freedom when it would have been so easy to cave,” said Dede Laugesen, executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, a grassroots group that advocates for helping persecuted Christians.
Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List ranks Nigeria as the seventh worst country in the world for Christian persecution.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Yorkfoto
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.