Online prayer event marks Christian schoolgirl's third birthday in captivity

Leah Sharibu

An online prayer event was held on Thursday night to mark Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu's third birthday in captivity. 

Leah was one of over a hundred schoolgirls abducted by a faction of Boko Haram from their school in Dapchi, Yobe state on 19 February 2018.

The other girls were released a few weeks later following government negotiations but Leah remains in captivity because of her refusal to convert to Islam as a precondition for her release. 

The online prayer event was organised by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which has been calling on the Nigerian government to take action to secure her release. 

In February this year, Leah's mother, Rebecca Sharibu, joined a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission in London organised by CSW, during which she delivered a petition signed by over 12,000 people demanding action. 

The online prayer event was joined by Reverend Yunusa Nmadu, Matt Redman and Pete Greig.  They appear in a new YouTube video released by CSW to encourage Leah to stay strong and call Christians to prayer. 

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: "For the third time Leah will be marking her birthday as a captive. This brave girl is an example to all of us as she continues to stay true to her Christian faith and refuses to renounce her faith.

"We continue to call on the Nigerian government to do everything in its power to secure her swift release, and that of other captives held by both Boko Haram factions, including the remaining Chibok girls.

"We also urge the international community to raise her case with Nigeria at every opportunity and to offer assistance to counter the continuing threat posed by armed non-state actors in the country."