Dapchi Update: Leah Sharibu Not Released, Other Shocking Detials Revealed

Dapchi Update: Leah Sharibu Not Released, Other Shocking Detials Revealed

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This release updates on our prior report of the Dapchi schoolgirl mass abduction.
Two girls were profiled in that report. We are able to report that the sole remaining hostage, Christian schoolgirl Leah (LIYA in local Hausa language) held on account of her faith, is still not back despite rife reports of her release.
The first indicator that stirred rumors of an impending release was the withdrawal of troops from Dapchi which locals reported on Saturday.
Subsequently the family received phone calls that a Boko Haram terrorist convoy was sighted en route Dapchi.
This speculation was exacerbated by a statement by Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police that Leah was about to be released thus he postponed his visit to Dapchi.
After several tense hours of anticipation, no drop off occurred as heralded to the disappointment of teeming concerned citizens for whom Leah has become an icon of courage, faith and resilience in a country whose leadership runs a perennial trust deficit.
We wish to note with grave concern the persistent mishandling of information with regard to this latest mass abduction:
1. It is deeply troubling  that over one month after the Dapchi mass abductions, it is now being reported that 111 people were abducted.
This means that throughout the duration of their captivity, the government was not aware of one child who was abducted.
This is all the more worrisome because these were students in a government school and therefore wards of the custodians/state who should have been well documented.
The implication of this is thus that but for the kindness of Boko Haram who  disclosed that they had an extra child, one schoolgirl would have fallen through the cracks.
Given these circumstances, the question must be asked if all the missing have truly been accounted for in Dapchi.
2. The government announced the impending release of last hostage Leah Sharibu but then denied they said so. However the denial has proven to be false based on available video proof of the IG’s remarks. This confirms that the government is intentionally lying which damages their credibility in the eyes of the public and concerned parents.
3. The government claims negotiations with Boko Haram led to the release of the Dapchi girls. Was Leah Sharibu not part of the subject of negotiations? If Boko Haram breached a ransom agreement, what mechanisms are in place to ensure full compliance?
It is alarming that the Department of State Security, while briefing the president, said

“The remaining six Dapchi girls are yet to be accounted for, and dialogue on these students is still ongoing.”

However, evidence in the public domain already indicates that five girls died and were buried and Leah Sharibu was held back on account of her faith. Why did the DSS mislead the president on these key facts that have been attested to by the girls and the terrorists themselves?
4. If the government is to be believed, Boko Haram was not paid off but was only reminded that they had an “understanding “ not to abduct schoolchildren. That being the case, why was Leah Sharibu not returned by the same token?
5. There apparently haven’t been appropriate parental notifications for the five schoolgirls confirmed to have tragically died in the process of the abduction.
Their causes of death are reported to be suffocation.
However it is also likely that starvation may have also been a factor. The released girls have stated that the terrorists only asked for those who were fasting and provided them food first.
6. Some parents who haven’t seen their daughters were reportedly maltreated by Government officials when they came inquiring.
7. The DSS also stated there “are two additional young primary school pupils, namely Hafsat Haruna, an 11-year-old primary six pupil, and Mala Maina Bukar, 13 years old and also a primary six pupil.”
Again this reveals that the full extent of the abductions remain unknown over 5 weeks later.
The principal reason why our advocacy over abducted school kids is more strident than general population abductions is the decipherable, discernible and documented nature of their circumstances. If primary school pupils were also missing for a month and not known till the captives’ release then the situation in northeast Nigeria is far worse than perceived.
The number of children separated from their parents (including abducted and displaced) is possibly much higher than the 20,000 estimated a couple of years ago.
8. The fact that Boko Haram reportedly apologized for “mistakenly” abducting the Dapchi girls because they didn’t know they were “Muslim” makes mockery of the government’s claim that they had understanding for a moratorium on school abductions. Indeed Boko Haram’s warning to the community for the girls not to go back to school makes this incontrovertible.
9. The government’s claim that there was a complex arrangement to create a humanitarian corridor and temporary ceasefire to allow the return of the girls is confusing. Reports are that many fled the community in fear of Boko Haram’s incursion. This poorly-communicated situation creates an avenue for Trojan-style attacks and ambushes.

10. It is intriguing that the DSS itself complained about miscommunication when it said  “some of the utterances of the government functionaries who were not competent to comment on the issues, posed challenges that almost marred the rescue efforts.” It is tragic that nine years into a virulent insurgency, Nigeria’s security apparatchik appear to be in dissonance with regard to interagency communication coordination.


Below are highlights of a debrief with one of the recently released girls


Q. Were you the ones cooking or did they cook for you?

Dapchi Schoolgirl: We are they ones cooking for ourselves because they said “these children may say we will poison them.” We eat 30 bags of rice plus maize grits in our three weeks stay.

Five of us died on our way going. They only gave break fast and dinner no lunch. They five of us that died were buried in one grave – all of them in the same day. And they advised us not to reveal that we were they ones that killed them. But we said that we didn’t do anything to them. They just died on their own.

Q. Did they wash them before burying them ?

Dapchi Schoolgirl: No, they were just buried with their blood like that and they just pushed sand on them.


Q. but the governor said that you were in Gaidam and even brought one Canter Truck that they said it was the car that took you?

Dapchi Schoolgirl: It was all lies, we passed Gaidam. Boko Haram even asked us “where is the army?” and we said there is no army in Dapchi. They said “it’s a lie there is.”

On our way to Abuja (to see President Buhari) we asked one of the soldiers “where were (they) when Boko Haram abducted us?” He answered that they were seeing us while Boko Haram was taking us. And the reason why they didn’t follow us is that Boko Haram will kill them. Then one of the girls asked him, “you were seeing us being taken away, what is the use of your work?” And he kept silent. “You only know corruption” she said.


Q. Where is that Christian girl (Leah)?

Dapchi Schoolgirl: We left her there.

Q. Why?

Dapchi Schoolgirl: It’s because she refuses to be a Moslem.

Q. Was she crying while you were leaving?

Dapchi Schoolgirl: Yes, I even begged Leah to accept Islam but she refused and said she can’t live with herself if she converted and came back. So she will not – that it’s better to be killed by Boko Haram.

There’s one old man from Damaturu who is also a Boko Haram that brings us water. He also asked Leah to convert to Islam but she said “no.” Where by the news reached to their commander that there is one Christian girl that refused to accept Islam so they brought her before him. She repeated the same thing, and he said “we will kill you.”  He showed her one temporary zinc and ordered her to go and sit inside.


Dapchi Schoolgirl: But on our way from Dapchi with the terrorists while going some of us were praying that “let us get into an accident so that we will all die.” Boko Haram captured three Red Cross staff. They showed us where they kept them but didn’t allow us to see them. They said they will hand us to Red Cross  but later they changed their minds and decided to bring us back by themselves. They said that they will release us in exchange with two hundred of their members. They said Buhari said something when he came to Dapchi.

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW WILL BE AVAILABLE ON FACEBOOK PAGE “I AM LEAH” (A page to dedicated to Leah Sharibu https://m.facebook.com/groups/1560987890666262)



1. Leah’s Father’s messages:

IAMLEAH Interviewer: What message do you have for your daughter?

Father: I want Leah from now henceforth not to deny Christ in any situation of suffering and I want her to endure with what she started to the end.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What’s your message to the government?

Father: I am pleading for the government to do the right thing and help, as they do before, for bringing the rest to their parents, to do so to our daughter.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What’s your message to those that are praying for Leah?

Father:  I want the Christians to continue praying for Leah, for it is because  of the Christians’ faith in prayers that is why Leah stands in the faith, and I want the Christians not only to pray for Leah, but also the family.

2. Leah’s Mother’s message:

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What’s your message to the terrorists?

Mother: I said that even if we are told today that they’ve shot Leah, I thank God that Leah is still Christian, and that one day I will see her again.

IAMLEAH Interviewer:  What message to those praying for Leah?

Mother: May God accept and answer all their prayers.

(SEE FULL INTERVIEW AT FACEBOOK I AM LEAH PAGE https://m.facebook.com/groups/1560987890666262)



1. It appears that the government did not utilize the traditional international interlocutors in this case which may explain the miscommunications and general suspicion surrounding the Dapchi mass abduction. The government should use trusted actors with credible track records to avoid the current credibility crisis its current  saga has engendered.

2. The government could do much better in managing these situations from lessons learned in the Chibok episode up to the present. While some of the girls who escaped abduction were scheduled for relocating to another school yesterday, it is unclear what plans are in the pipeline for the recently released girls.


Leah Sharibu’s Dad and ECWA Pastor at Palm Sunday Service the day after she wasn’t returned as announced. Churches across Nigeria were called tp pray for Leah yesterday March 25 by the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN


Parents of the released schoolgirls flock to finally receive their daughters from the school after their return from meeting with President Buhari yesterday March 25, 2018

Leah’s despondent mother Rebecca Sharibu receives commiserators outside their humble dwellings
Photo credits: US Nigeria Law Group
Emmanuel Ogebe
Managing Partner
Washington DC USA
Seeking to end impunity in the Nigerian Genocide