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.
- urge the international community to continue to pray for and demand her release
- urge Nigerians to protest for Leah, Alice, Grace and others release
- condemn the Buhari Government’s continuing secrecy on significant military losses that has led to the sacking of enter villages in Chibok and Askira Uba Local Government Areas, Madagali and Gwoza to mention a few. Indeed the villages of several of the Chibok girls in USA have fallen to Boko Haram and their families displaced in attacks worse than occurred before this administration came in.
- urge continued prayer and support for the Sharibu family whom rather than receive the return of their daughter Leah were subjected to insults by the Nigerian Embassy in USA
- urge the protection of vulnerable aid workers and innocent civilians
- seize this opportunity to condemn the non-payment of death benefits to widows and orphans (Next of Kin – NOK) of gallant officers killed in action (KIA) in the war on terror and demand immediate payments thereof.
Emmanuel Ogebe, ESQ
US NIGERIA LAW GROUP
US NIGERIA LAW GROUP