The execution on Monday of a second aid worker, Hauwa Liman, by a faction of Boko Haram insurgents called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), has heightened fear for the life of Miss Leah Sharibu.
The 15-year-old girl has been in Boko Haram captivity since February 19, 2018 when the insurgents abducted her and 110 other girls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State.
One hundred and five of the students regained freedom on March 21, 2018 through a series of ‘behind-the-scene discussion’ while five were said to have died of asphyxiation on the day of captivity and were given a mass burial.
But Sharibu, the only Christian girl among the hostages, was held back because she refused to renounce her faith.
In September, Boko Haram killed one of the health workers, Saifura Khorsa.
The deceased who served as a midwife the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), was kidnapped in Kala-Balge, Borno State.
Khorsa was shot in the back and a video of the gruesome murder was posted online by the insurgents who further threatened to kill Liman and Alice Loksha who were abducted alongside Khorsa in March 2018, as well as Sharibu.
On Monday, ISWAP executed Liman saying the federal government had failed to negotiate the release of the deceased and her colleague, Loksha.
In its reaction, the BringBackOurGirls movement said the situation might have been different if the government had yielded to the demands of the coalition for the urgent release of the captives through a military operation, negotiation or a combination of both.
Its spokesman, Mr. Nifemi Onifade expressed apprehension over the fate of the Chibok girls, Sharibu, and others in Boko Haram captivity.
“The government could have rescued them through a military operation, negotiate for their release or use the combination of the two. There was clearly a present threat to the girls in captivity, so why didn’t the government take the necessary action? The killings could have been averted.”
“We don’t have any evidence that they won’t keep committing such atrocities, so we have to assume based on their track record, based on what they have done in the past that our Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu, as well as Alice Loksha of UNICEF, who are still in captivity, who are facing similar threats, we can’t expect that the terrorists would change their mind and behave differently,” he said.
The BBOG said it had earlier written to President Muhammadu Buhari on the need the need for a quick rescue of the hostages.
Also reacting to Liman’s killing, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Atiku Abubakar, called on the federal government to immediately rescue 15-year-old Sharibu from Boko Haram before it is too late.
Atiku who took to his twitter handle wrote: “I’m deeply saddened by the murder of Hauwa Leman, an ICRC aid worker, by terrorists. I implore the federal government to deploy every reasonable tool at its disposal to bring Leah Sharibu and all the children in Boko Haram captivity home.”
In August, Miss Sharibu spoke in a 35-second online audio message pleading with the federal government to ensure her release from her captors.
“I am Leah Sharibu, the girl that was abducted in GGSS Dapchi.
“I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation.
“I also plead to the members of the public to help my mother, my father, my younger brother and relatives. Kindly help me out of my predicament.
“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. Thank you,” she said.
The federal government in its reaction said it was “shocked” and “saddened” by the killing of the aid worker “despite the actions taken by the government and the widespread appeal to save the young woman.”
The minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed said in a statement in London that the killing was “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly” adding that nothing could justify the shedding of the blood of innocent people.
“It is very unfortunate that it has come to this. Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the federal government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker.
“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.
“We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker. However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors,” he said.
With AFP report