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World News

Father of Leah Sharibu speaks out on reports daughter has turned to Islam

by Ruth Sax

The father of abducted Nigerian Christian teenager Leah Sharibu has spoken out after reports surfaced over the weekend suggested that his daughter had given birth to the son of a Boko Haram commander and that she was forced to accept Islam.

In an interview with the BBC her father, Nathan Sharibu said: "I believe my daughter is alive. I just need my daughter whether she has had a child or turned to Islam or not. I need my daughter alive that is only what I want."

He said he couldn't confirm whether it was true or not because he had only read the reports online, explaining that the Nigerian government had never spoken to Mr Sharibu since his daughter was abducted by Boko Haram in February 2018.

He continued and said: "I am very sad, I don't have anything to say because I have left everything to God."

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's head of advocacy Khataza Gondwe told Premier: "We need to remember that we're dealing with a terrorist group, we need to remember that we're dealing with a group that likes to cause pain.

"Such news would be painful for her parents. We mustn't assume what they say or what has been released to be the truth. We just keep praying for her. 

"If it's true, so be it, but we stand with Leah's father and want her back, that is what we are focusing on."

It comes as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on churches in Nigeria and abroad to join in three days of special fasting and prayer, starting on Friday.

The initiative is being launched in response to the murder of the Chairman of a local CAN branch, Rev. Lawan Andimi, as well as abduction and killings of many Christians and other prisoners of faith.

The fasting and prayer will focus on the need for the Nigerian government to "develop capacity to overcome the criminals troubling the nation." 

On the third day, a special prayer walk by Christians in all the States of the Federation will take place with processions led by CAN Chairmen of each of the federal states and pastors of churches across Nigeria.

Congregations have been asked to walk around areas where their churches are located, praying for divine intervention and global assistance to bring all forms of violence afflicting the nation to an end.

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