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Leah Sharibu not dead, negotiations ongoing – Presidency


The Presidency, on Saturday, dismissed fresh speculation that Miss Leah Sharibu is dead.



The  Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State pupil was kidnapped along with some of her schoolmates by Boko Haram in February  2018.



While Boko Haram released the majority of the Muslim girls, Sharibu, a Christian, was denied freedom on account of her faith.



According to the  Presidency,   Sharibu is alive and the Federal Government is negotiating her release with Boko Haram.



The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave an update on Sharibu in a statement on Saturday.



The statement, which quoted Shehu as speaking to a “group of journalists” in Abuja, assured the public that the government would not give up on  Sharibu, as it was doing everything possible to secure her release.



Shehu said, ‘‘Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully lead to her release by her captors.



“Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, Islamic State in West Africa, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.



‘‘Contrary to  reports, she is alive, given assurances from  the  security agencies, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages, to their families.”



He claimed the government did not encourage payment of ransom to secure the release of captives, adding that it was the reason the government was not in a hurry to just yield to the demands of the terrorist group.



Shehu added, “Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists; refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.



“With the abduction of loved family members and friends, the government understands how difficult these times are for them, but the government is pursuing many options to ensure the safe return of Leah Sharibu.



“We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal; legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, involvement of all relevant parties and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.”



‘‘Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must collectively make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”



The presidential aide  called for patience to allow the government’s efforts come to fruition.
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