The Nigerian President’s Office has confirmed that Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped by Boko Haram is still alive after being captured a year and a half ago.
The federal government has said that negotiations with the Islamic State West African Province, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram, are continuing on the release of Leah.
It said “Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWAP, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu. Contrary to false reports, she is alive - given assurances by our security agencies - and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.”. On 19 February 2018, Leah and more than 100 of her classmates were kidnapped from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe.
While the others were released within a month, Leah, the only Christian in the group, remained in captivity after refusing to give up her faith.
The President’s spokesperson stated in the statement that the government is pursuing a number of options to ensure Leah’s release by committing to law and communication and using the strategies at its disposal, such as legal initiatives and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.
In October 2018, for the first time since Leah’s capture, President Buhari spoke to Leah’s mother via Twitter: “Today, I spoke with Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu to reiterate our determination to bring her daughter Leah back home safely”.