The heartbreaking plight of Christian teen Leah Sharibu, who was kidnapped by sadistic Islamic jihadists in Nigeria, has taken a turn for the worse.
The violent persecution of Christians has spiraled out of control in Nigeria. Islamic radicals are targeting innocent Christian men, women, and children simply for their faith.
As we continue to demand international action to defend Africa’s persecuted and dying Christians, we must focus on Leah Sharibu, the Christian teenager who remains in the clutches of the sadistic Islamic militia, Boko Haram.
Leah was one of 110 innocent Christian school girls abducted at gunpoint from their village in Nigeria in February 2018. Most of her classmates were ultimately released – but five of the girls did not survive – and Leah remains a hostage because, according to the other girls, she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
For three years now, news of Leah’s circumstances has been sparse. The terrorists had threatened to murder her or enslave her for life. At one point it was reported that Leah was still alive and her captors were demanding an astronomical ransom of $275 million. After that, little updates were given as to Leah’s fate.
It has now been reported that not only is Leah alive, but she has given birth to her second child in captivity. Rape and forced marriages are a common tactic used by evil jihadists as a means of eliminating Christianity and raising children with radicalised views of the world.
According to the statement:
Intelligence received on the status of Leah indicates that she has delivered a second child in captivity.
While we have not corroborated this by multiple sources, a usually knowledgeable source indicated that she delivered a second child late last year.
These terrorists stole this vibrant young Christian girl from her heartbroken family, abused her, and have forced her to bear the children of her captors. Again, these children will no doubt be groomed into Boko Haram, which has sworn its loyalty to ISIS.
And throughout the past three years since Leah’s abduction, despite official assurances, the Nigerian government has done little to obtain her freedom or bring these criminals to justice.
It is time for the rest of the world to stop turning a blind eye to the disgusting human rights abuses against Christians in Nigeria.
We’ve taken Leah’s story directly to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), filing multiple written submissions and critical oral interventions. Just last month, I directly presented an oral intervention to the UNHRC, urging the international community to take swift action to end the violence against Nigeria’s Christians and to save Leah Sharibu.
Nigeria has been the epicenter for anti-Christian violence in Africa. As we reported, when ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo was Secretary of State under President Trump, he placed Nigeria on a persecution watchlist for what he called its government’s toleration of “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” We’re now working directly with him, as we seek an end to the bloodshed and persecution.
According to reports, in 2020 alone, roughly 2,200 Christians were senselessly slaughtered – even hacked to death – by Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. And the deadly violence is spreading beyond Nigeria’s borders to other African regions.
All Christians should feel safe to worship and pray without fear of violence, abduction, abuse, or even death. The world needs to step up and take action or the future for Christians in Nigeria – and all across Africa – looks very grim.
Compiled by Olivier Summers.