Nigeria: Aid Group Appeals for Help Over Workers Kidnapped in Northern Nigeria

Screenshot of the aid workers. The footage WAS obtained by Nigerian conflict journalist Ahmad Salkida and published by Nigerian news site The Cable.

Paris-based international aid group Action Against Hunger has confirmed that one driver was killed and six aid workers were abducted in Damasak, northeastern Nigeria by a jihadist group, and has urged their captors to release them.

"These are humanitarian workers who chose to devote their lives to helping the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria," according to the release. "Action Against Hunger strongly requests that our staff member and her companions are released," it added.

Action Against Hunger is a charity that helps to feed the poorest, especially in areas like northern Nigeria was extreme food insecurity.

The video shows the six people, all Nigerians, including one staff member, local health workers in the employ of Action Against Hunger, and drivers who are "apparently in a good condition of health," said the agency statement.

The video was aired by The Cable, a Nigerian news outlet, showing a woman sitting on the floor who calls herself "Grace" against the backdrop of a sheet with the Un Refugee Agency (UNHCR) logo. There are five men sitting nearby, some with bowed heads.

"We were caught by this army called the Calipha," she said, asking for the government of Nigeria and Action Against Hunger to intervene. "We don't know where we are," she added.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but both Boko Haram and the West Africa branch of Islamic State (IS) operate in the area.

The last abduction in the area was the International Committee of the Red Cross midwife who was kidnapped in March 2018 and executed seven months later.

Thursday 18 July 2019: a convoy of vehicles was attacked on the road to Damasak Borno State. 1 of the drivers was killed while 1 Action Against Hunger staff, 2 of the drivers & 3 health workers are missing. We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident.

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