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15-y-o kept captive for refusing to denounce Jesus makes appeal for freedom

choolgirls kidnapped from Dapchi board a military plane following a handover to government officials in Maiduguri on 21 March. Photograph: Hamza Suleiman/AP

By Aaron Sseruyigo
 
A Nigerian Christian schoolgirl who remains in captivity because she refuses to denounce Christ and convert to Islam is calling on her government to fight for her release.
 
Leah Sharibu, 15, was the only Christian girl among the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in February this year. She could have been freed along with her schoolmates but refused to renounce her faith, according to her mother.
 
“I am Leah Sharibu, the girl that was abducted from Government Girls Science Technical College, Dapchi. I am calling on government and people of goodwill to get me out of this problem,” she says in an audio recording in her native Hausa language, according to CBN News. 
 
“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,” she said.
 
Boko Haram sent the unverified recording to local media on Monday. Government officials are according to CBN News working to confirm the audio file’s authenticity.
 
“The secret service is analyzing the voice. Our reaction will follow the outcome of the investigation,” President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said on his Twitter page.
 
“For President Buhari, nothing will be spared in bringing all our girls home. He will not rest until all of them are freed,” he added.
 
Her father, Sharibu Nathan, confirmed to CNN that it was his daughter speaking on the audio.
 
“I thought she might have been killed since we were told by those released that Boko Haram kept her because she is a Christian. I can only imagine the way they would have treated her,” Nathan said. “I have been calling the government to save my daughter. It has been seven months since she was taken; I believe they can get her from Boko Haram if they want to help us.”
 
“We begged her (Leah Sharibu) to just recite the Islamic declaration and put the hijab on and get into the vehicle, but she said it was not her faith, so why should she say it was? If they want to kill her, they can go ahead, but she won’t say she is a Muslim,” the girls told media.
 
Leah asked her friends to tell her parents to pray for her, they said.
 
According to UNICEF, Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013.
 
The group notoriously kidnapped more than 100 girls from a boarding school in Chibok in 2014.
 
To date, 93 of the Chibok girls have been released, while more than 100 of them remain missing.
 
Added Reporting by CBN News. 

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