Following the rapid spate of executions of hostages this week, the highest number in the history of Boko Haram, we began efforts to ascertain, across multiple channels, the state of heroine Christian Schoolgirl captive Leah Sharibu.
The latest video released says Boko Haram is still holding Leah Sharibu in first indication by terrorist group that she is still alive.
The lecturer whom we reported last week was recently captured discloses this in the new video in which he is the spokesperson.
This contradicts the video released in July which claimed Leah had been executed.
At the time we issued the following:
“US NIGERIA LAW GROUP’S FORENSIC ANALYSIS ON PURPORTED EXECUTION OF HEROINE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLGIRL LEAH
A proof of life video released last night of aid workers abducted last week contains the unsettling report that heroine Christian Schoolgirl Leah Sharibu has been killed.
Below is our forensic analysis of the said claim:
The video appears to have been released through the recognized conduit of the terror group
However the video does not contain the watermark signature bearing the emblem of the terror group’s flag
The video does not contain the usual Islamic songs used by the terrorists
The video does not contain any remarks, input or demand whatsoever from the terrorists themselves. Without clear identification of the abductors in a muddled field of contenders, ransom negotiations can be confusing.
The hostage speaker Grace is reportedly one of the recently captured aid workers in an attack on July 18 less than a week to the video recording. She would likely not have any knowledge of or interaction with Leah Sharibu within the space of just six days.
The hostage speaker Grace narrated that two Red Cross workers Hauwa and Zipporah were abducted and then killed. There was no hostage named Zipporah executed by the terrorists.
The hostage speaker Grace said they were held by the “army of Calipha.” This does not easily identify whether it is the terrorist splinter group now known as Islamic State West Africa Province or the original Shekau-led Boko Haram. The former abducted Leah while the latter abducted the Chibok girls.
The statement on heroine Christian Schoolgirl Leah and aidworker Alice’s death could have been a misperception or misconception of the speaker Grace erroneously assuming they were killed.
Alternatively the statement could have been foisted on the hostage as part of psychological warfare and negotiating strategy.
It seems out of character for a principled terror group who declared in a message last year that they would not kill Leah and Alice but hold them as slaves to now break their own word. Unlike killer Fulani Herdsmen, the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have rules of engagement, scruples and codes of honor.
Based on the foregoing forensic analysis, we are unable to conclusively conclude that Leah and Alice are deceased.
There is simply no sufficient or credible evidence to support the report of their deaths.”
Sadly, the hostages pictured in that July video were executed this week except the spokeswoman Grace Takin who the terrorists have sentenced to life slavery along with Leah and UNICEF Aidworker Alice Ngaddah who is also believed to be alive.
The series of hostage executions are yet again evidence that the terrorists, like the majority of Nigerians, are fed up with the trenchant failings of the Buhari regime which they claim did not negotiate in good faith.
We appreciate ISWA clarifying the air on the status of Leah especially recognizing that as an innocent girl child, there’s no basis for shedding her blood.
We call on all persons of goodwill to intercede for the release of these innocent hostages in this Yuletide season.
PREVIOUSLY: INFORMATION ON DR ZAKKA [spokesman in latest video]
Report indicates that recently abducted lecturer, Bitrus Zakka, was amongst several motorists ambushed at a Boko Haram checkpoint last week.
Dr Zakka was asked by the terrorists for ID which he said he did not have.
The terrorists then demanded for and searched his bag. Upon opening it, they saw his bible and materials showing he was a lecturer. This innocuous find was deadly for him as he was both a Christian and a teacher of western education which the terrorists are against.
Dr. Zakka was immediately whisked away in a car by the terrorists and driven to an unknown destination. Other Muslim passengers were freed to continue their trip. Nothing has been heard of Dr Zakka since Wednesday last week.
The ambush occurred in broad daylight and a student who saw Dr Zakka being driven away in the direction of Dapchi, phoned his institution, Umar Suleiman College of Education Gashua, to report his abduction.
Others who were released by the terrorists filled in the details of what transpired between him and the terrorists.
A former student of his says Dr Zakka is very popular among both Christian and Muslim students which explains why a Muslim student was the one who reported his abduction to the school.
They day after his abduction, his bag and belongings were found at the scene of the ambush but he himself disappeared without a trace.
Family sources indicate that he was traveling to visit his family for Thanksgiving weekend.
They’re concerned for him and also for the impact on his sickly daughter who is on a daily medication regimen.
It is not known if he is still living or will be held for ransom as a high value captive like the humanitarian aide workers, University lecturers, Leah Sharibu and others.
Having an ID has become a grave danger to road travelers in the region. If you fall into a Boko Haram checkpoint, they can attack you based on your religion and profession as indicated by your ID (Christian name.)
On the other hand, if you meet a military checkpoint and don’t have ID, you can be arrested as a Boko Haram suspect.
In 2013, Boko Haram had mounted a roadblock and killed over 170 travelers by beheading with chainsaws after identifying them via their IDs.
Emmanuel Ogebe, ESQ
US Nigeria law group