(Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist group Boko Haram has killed an aid worker as an “apostate” from Islam and vowed to keep kidnapped high school girl Leah Sharibu as a “slave for life,” Nigerian news outlet The Cable reported.
Leah, kidnapped along with more than 100 schoolgirls from Dapchi, Yobe state in February but not released with the others because she refused to convert to Islam, will never be freed because Boko Haram’s Islamic law allows “infidels” to be kept as slaves, according to a statement by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), commonly known as Boko Haram, released through The Cable.
Alice Ngaddah, a Christian who works with UNICEF, will also be kept as a slave, according to the statement. Leah and Ngaddah, a mother of two, “are now our slaves,” the Boko Haram group said.
“Based on our doctrines, it is now lawful for us to do whatever we want to do with them,” the group said.
The group has executed Hauwa Leman, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), according to the statement.
“In a short clip seen by a special correspondent of TheCable, Leman was forced to kneel down, with her hands tied inside a white hijab which has a crest symbol, and then shot at close range,” The Cable reported.
Boko Haram in September killed Saifura Ahmed, one of the three humanitarian workers abducted in Rann, Borno state, in March. Leman, a 24-year-old midwife and student of health education at the University of Maiduguri, was among those then kidnapped.
In its statement, the Boko Haram group said, “Saifura and Hauwa were killed because they are considered as Murtads [apostates] by the group because they were once Muslims that have abandoned their Islam, the moment they chose to work with the Red Cross, and for us, there is no difference between Red Cross and UNICEF…If we see them, we will kill the apostates among them, men or women, and chose to kill or keep the infidels as slaves, men or women.”
Leah was the only Christian among more than 100 high school girls kidnapped from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, on Feb. 19. The other girls were released in March.
Government representatives and advocates within Nigeria, along with the international community have called for her release.
Boko Haram has not made known its demands for the release of the hostages. It had set a deadline of Monday (Oct. 15) for its demands to be met or it would kill one of the hostages.
Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said in a statement that government officials were shocked and saddened at the killing of Leman in light of efforts the government has taken to secure the release of the hostages. Mohammed said the killing was “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly” and said the government did all within its powers to save her life.
“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through,” Mohammed said in the statement. “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.”
Leah’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu, on Sept. 29 called on President Muhammadu Buhari to secure Leah’s release. Buhari later spoke with Leah’s mother, pledging to do everything possible to get her released.
Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013, according to CNN.
About 100 of 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok, in Borno state, in 2014 are still missing.
Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for nine years to impose sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school.
In 2015 the Nigerian military began taking back most of the territory Boko Haram had controlled, but many areas remain, and the terrorists are still mounting isolated attacks. Jubilee Campaign reports that, according to figures from the Stefanos Foundation, Boko Haram in 2017 took responsibility for attacks that claimed more than 650 lives.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.