ABUJA, NIGERIA – On August 1, Missions Box News published an article entitled “65 Dead in Boko Haram Attack at Funeral.” In that article, we reported that Leah Sharibu, a Christian teenager who had been abducted in early 2018 along with more than 100 Chibok school children early in 2018, may have been killed by members of the terror group.
While other girls have been released, Leah has continued in captivity because she has refused to renounce Jesus Christ. Her release continues to be contingent upon her willingness to do so.
Although a reputable source, an employee of Action Against Hunger, recently released by Boko Haram rebels, indicated that Leah might have died in an escape attempt. However, we also reported that authorities had not yet been able to confirm that report.
Now, a month later, the Nigerian government has released a statement that Leah is alive and that officials are still negating for her release and that of others also being held by the group that has changed its name to the Islamic State in West Africa Province.
“Contrary to false reports, she [Leah] is alive, given assurances from our security agencies, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages. Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
Lacking substantial results from government negotiations, many locals “No longer rely on the Nigerian government’s assurances.”
Leah is a member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). ECWA’s General Secretary issued a statement welcoming the news from the government and urging the authorities to continue to pursue Leah’s release as well as the release of other Christians. Nonetheless, the ECWA made it clear that, although the government may be an instrument of God to bring Leah and the others home, their confidence in their return is entirely in the Lord. The president of ECWA said,
“Our defense, confidence, is faith in God. We are praying and trusting God to bring back Leah Sharibu . . . And the remaining Chibok girls back to us safely in Jesus name. If God decides to still use the Nigerian government or security agents for that, to God be the glory.”
The ECWA was founded in 1954 as an outgrowth of what was formerly the Sudan Interior Mission. It has been described as “the largest mission organization of any African church living up to its name “Evangelical.”” The 6,000 congregations in Africa have a combined adult membership of 2.5 million believers. Because the organization is also focused on world missions, its members number more than 10 million worldwide.
The Lord has honored the vision and passion of the three original missionaries who journeyed to “darkest Africa” to share the good news. Their commitment to Jesus Christ is reflected today in the body’s leadership – and the unwavering dedication of a teenage girl to whom Jesus is more precious than life itself.
To read more news on Christian Persecution on Missions Box, go here.
- Missions Box News, Nigerian Girl Refuses to Renounce Christ Remains Captive of Boko Haram
- Missions Box News, 65 Dead in Boko Haram Attack at Funeral
- Sight Magazine, Nigeria says kidnapped Christian teenager Leah Sharibu is alive
- Evangelical Church Winning All, History
- Wikipedia, Evangelical Church Winning All