Boko Haram

Last Dapchi schoolgirl held by Boko Haram turns 16

Dooshima Abu

BBC Africa, Abuja

Women holding a cake to celebrate Leah's birthday

A Christian group has met in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to mark the 16th birthday of Leah Sharibu, the only schoolgirl still held captive by Boko Haram after last year's mass kidnapping in Dapchi.

Leah was held back for refusing to convert to Islam after the Nigerian government negotiated and paid ransom for the release of the other schoolgirls.

"It’s been more than one year since Leah Sharibu was abducted and the painful thing is that we don't know her whereabouts, despite government’s promises," Gloria Samdi, the president of Leah Foundation told the BBC.

On 19 February last year, militants from the Boko Haram faction loyal to the Islamic State group stormed the Government Girls Science and Technical College and kidnapped 110 schoolgirls.

A month later, after negotiating with the jihadists, the government announced the release of all but one of the kidnapped schoolgirls. Leah was held back and not negotiated for on account of her faith.

She has been held captive by the militants for more than 400 days.

Crowds holding banners saying "Bloodshed must stop" and #freeleah.

The women of Boko Haram

Fatima Akilu on how female members of Boko Haram are harder to rehabilitate than men
Fatima Akilu is a Nigerian psychologist focusing on the fall-out from the brutal Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s north east. Fatima works with victims as well as perpetrators in an effort to reintegrate them into the community. Speaking to Kim Chakanetsa, Fatima describes how in her experience, female members of Boko Haram find it more difficult to sever ties with the organisation.

Image: Fatima Akilu
Credit: BBC
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Nigerian Boko Haram militants are being given a chance to re-integrate into society.
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Regional leaders in crisis talks over Boko Haram

BBC World Service

The wreckage of cars damaged by an attack on a market are seen on September 20, 2018, in Amarwa, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Borno state capital Maiduguri
Getty Images
Boko Haram has waged a brutal insurgency since 2009

The leaders of Chad, Nigeria, Niger and the Central African Republic are meeting in the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, to discuss the worsening security situation in areas under attack by Boko Haram militants.

The one-day summit will examine ways to bolster the capability of the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting the Islamist insurgents.

The president of Benin - whose country contributes troops to the force - has also been invited.

The UN estimates that more than two million people have been displaced by the crisis in the Lake Chad region, as a result of violent conflict, climate change and extreme poverty.