Christians in Nigeria are desperately praying for 15-year-old Leah Sharibu as the one-month deadline to save the only Dapchi schoolgirl left in Boko Haram captivity draws to an end this week.
The terrorist group’s ISIS-affiliated faction threatened last month to kill the teenager, who was held back for refusing to renounce her Christian beliefs. The other hostages, 104 of her schoolmates, were released following negotiations with the Nigerian government in March.
Her resolute faith in the face of death has inspired evangelists, pastors, and everyday Christians across Africa’s most populous nation.
Boko Haram started in 2002 as a nonviolent sect meant to purify Islamic practices, but in recent years rose to the second deadliest group in the Global Terrorism Index, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and more than 2 million people displaced.
In February, its ISIS wing abducted 112 female students preparing for final exams at Government Girls’ Science and Technical College Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe. Six of the girls from the all-female boarding school died during captivity while one escaped, leaving Sharibu the only Dapchi student still with her abductors.
“The other nurse and midwife will be executed in a similar manner in one month, including Leah Sharibu,” the sect threatened on September 18 in a video of the execution of Saifura Khosa, a midwife with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Days before the execution video emerged, Sharibu pleaded for rescue in a 35-second audio clip.
“I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation,” she said.
“I am begging you to treat me with compassion. I am calling on the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation. Thank you.”
Read more at Christianity Today.