Geneva/Abuja — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is making an urgent public appeal to the Nigerian Government and to communities and individuals with influence to work toward the release of two committed medical workers abducted in north-eastern Nigeria earlier this year. Speed and urgency are critical. A deadline that could result in the killing of another health-care worker is less than 24 hours away.
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.
Hauwa Mohammed Liman worked in a hospital supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) when she was abducted on 01 March with Alice Loksha, a nurse who worked in a centre supported by UNICEF.
"Hauwa and Alice are medical workers who chose to work and help vulnerable communities in Rann, an area heavily affected by violence", said Mamadou Sow, the head of ICRC's Operations in the Lake Chad Basin. "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. The ICRC asks those involved with this case to do everything they can to avoid a repeat of that devastating outcome. Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old school student, was taken from her school in Dapchi in a separate abduction incident in February. She is also being held by the same armed group and everything must be done to ensure she too is released promptly and unharmed.
"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," said Patricia Danzi, Director of ICRC Operations in Africa. "They are daughters and sisters, one is a mother -- women with their futures ahead of them, children to raise, and families to return to."
This statement is available in Hausa.
For further information, please contact:
Aleksandra Matijevic Mosimann, ICRC Abuja, + 234 903 151 5543 (English)
Aliyu Dawobe for Hausa, ICRC Abuja, + 234 802 841 7085 (Hausa)
Krista Armstrong, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 217 32 87 (English & French)
Jason Straziuso, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 949 35 12 (English)