September 6th marked the 200th day since Leah Sharibu, a Christian Nigerian schoolgirl, was kidnapped from her school by Boko Haram. In February, Leah Sharibu was one of the 110 girls who were taken from Dapchi town by a Boko Haram faction known as the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).
According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea board chair Hyun Sook Foley, 104 of these girls were released in March, but five reportedly died during captivity.
“Leah Sharibu was the only girl who was not released in March,”
VOMK representative Foley explains.
“Reportedly, she was kept because she refused to convert from Christianity to Islam.”
VOMK representative Foley adds that Sharibu’s father, Nathan Sharibu, has recently been sent a recording of his daughter’s voice from her captors.
Nathan Sharibu told BBC Pidgin,
“It really is her voice. Before, I thought she wasn’t even alive.”
“Unfortunately, cases like Leah Sharibu’s are not rare for Nigerian Christians,” said VOMK representative Foley.
“Although Christians in Southern Nigeria experience religious freedom, there are still many Islamic Extremist groups. Boko Haram, a terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida and Islamic state, regularly attacks Christians and is believed to be behind increasing attacks on Christian village by Muslim Fulani tribes.”
Globally, Voice of the Martyrs has been working with persecuted Christians like the Sharibu family for more than 13 years. Voice of the Martyrs Korea board chair Foley says there are important lessons that can be drawn from Leah Sharibu’s imprisonment.
“Often, when we hear about the suffering of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, we’re tempted to throw money at their problems or demand government intervention until they’re solved,”
VOMK board chair Foley said.
“But one of our Voice of Martyrs directors who spent more than a year in prison reminds us, ‘It is God who holds the key to every prison cell. We must be faithful to pray daily for Leah Sharibu and the Nigerian church, and we must trust that God is working good even through her detainment.”
To stay updated on Leah Sharibu’s case and learn more about the persecution facing Nigerian Christians like Leah Sharibu, read Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s Nigeria Country profile . You can also visit the Voice of the Martyrs Korea website to read the profiles of the more than 70 other countries around the world where Christians are persecuted.