14 October 2018

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Red Cross Sends Urgent Message to Nigerian Govt Over Kidnapped Health Workers

Photo: Premium Times
Boko Haram [file photo]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has raised an alarm over the 24 hours deadline given by Boko Haram to eliminate another female staff held captive by the insurgents.

Mamadou Sow, Head of ICRC's Operations in the Lake Chad Basin, in a statement on Sunday made an appeal to the Nigerian government, communities and individuals towards the release of two medical workers.

The statement was also put on the ICRC website.

Mr Sow named the affected medical workers as Hauwa Mohammed and Alice Loksha.

According to Mr Sow, speed and urgency are critical. A deadline that could result in the killing of another health care worker is less than 24 hours away, he said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the killing of another kidnapped ICRC staff, Saifura Khorsa, in September by the Boko Haram.

Ms Khorsa was killed by the Boko Haram six months after her abduction alongside the two other health workers in March.

"To the holder of these kidnapped women, we urge you for mercy. We urge you not to kill another innocent health care worker, who was doing nothing but helping the community in north-east Nigeria," Mr Sow said.

Mr Sow noted that Hauwa worked in a hospital supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), when she was abducted March 1, 2018 with Alice, 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.

"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 residents alike. All they sought to do was help," he said.

Mr Sow also noted that Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old school student, was taken from her school in Dapchi, in a separate abduction incident in February.

He, however, added that she was also being held by the same armed group and everything must be done to ensure her prompt and unharmed release.

The Director of ICRC Operations in Africa, Patricia Danzi, also urged the federal government to work towards the release of the innocent spirited individuals.

"We urge you to 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 future ahead of them, children to raise, and families to return to," she said.

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