Secure release of abducted health workers – ICRS begs FG as deadline approaches

An urgent appeal has been made by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for the Nigerian government to work towards securing the release of two committed medical workers abducted in Northeastern Nigeria in early 2018.

In a statement released on the organisation’s website, it also called on communities and individuals with influence to work towards the release of the individuals.

We notes that the ICRC pointed out that speed and urgency are crucial; as a deadline that could result in the killing of another health-care worker is less than 24 hours away.

The organisation stated: “To the holder of these kidnapped women, ISWAP (Islamic State’s West African province group): We urge you for mercy. We urge you to not kill another innocent health care worker who was doing nothing but helping the community in north-east Nigeria.”

It pointed out that one of the abducted persons, Hauwa Mohammed Liman, worked in a hospital supported by the ICRC when she was abducted on March 1, 2018, with the second abducted person, Alice Loksha, a nurse who worked in a centre supported by UNICEF.

The head of ICRC’s operations in the Lake Chad Basin, Mamadou Sow, stated: “Hauwa and Alice are medical workers who chose to work and help vulnerable communities in Rann, an area heavily affected by violence.

“The town’s population has more than doubled because of the conflict, while most local health-care staff have fled. These women were providing essential and life-saving services to thousands of people, displaced and resident alike. All they sought to do was to help.”

A third healthcare worker abducted alongside Hauwa and Alice – ICRC colleague Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa – was killed by her abductors in September 2018.

The ICRC is pleading with those involved in the case, to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of that devastating outcome.

The director of ICRC operations in Africa, Patricia Danzi, also pleaded for the release of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi schoolgirl still in Boko Haram captivity.

She stated: “We urge you, spare and release these women. They are a midwife, a nurse, and a student. Like all those abducted, they are not part of any fight. They are daughters and sisters; one is a mother – women with their futures ahead of them, children to raise, and families to return to.”

Recall that we previously reported that the United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in separate statements, condemned the killing of one of the three aid workers abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Borno state.

The murder of the 25-year-old midwife, who was identified as Saifura Khorsa, came barely a month after Boko Haram released photos and audio recording of the three abducted female aid workers begging the Nigerian government to quickly come to their rescue as their time of being safe in custody of the insurgents was running out.

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