On Sunday 14 May, Leah Sharibu spent her 20th birthday the same way she spent the last six: in captivity.
Leah was just 14 when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram along with 110 schoolgirls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in northeast Nigeria. After a month of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the terrorist group, 104 of the 105 girls left alive were released from captivity and returned home to their families.
To this day, Leah is the only girl of the original group who remains captive.
The reason: for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, according to multiple former Boko Haram prisoners who had contact with her.
Leah’s case has been the subject of worldwide outrage and helps illustrate the way Islamist terrorism affects Christian communities in Nigeria. The Nigerian government, though outwardly sympathetic to Leah’s situation, seemed to have done little to rescue her.
Leah allegedly has been married off to one of her abductors and is rumoured to have two children. The only news comes from survivors of Boko Haram who have escaped or been released.