BFF-45 Red Cross appeals for lives of abducted health workers in Nigeria

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Red Cross appeals for lives of abducted health workers in Nigeria

KANO, Nigeria, Oct 14, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The Red Cross on Sunday
appealed to Nigeria to secure the release of two abducted health workers, as
a deadline set by Boko Haram to kill them approached.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spoke out a month
after another hostage kidnapped with them was executed by the jihadists.

“A deadline that could result in the killing of another health care
worker is less than 24 hours away,” said an ICRC statement.

“Speed and urgency are critical,” it added.

The three female health workers were kidnapped on March 1, in the remote
northeastern town of Rann following an attack by IS-affiliated Boko Haram
faction.

The raid killed three other health workers and eight Nigerian soldiers.

Two of the kidnapped women, Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa, worked for
the Geneva-based humanitarian charity while the third, Alice Loksha, worked
for the UN children’s organisation UNICEF.

There was no news of the trio until last month. Then the ICRC said it had
received footage of Khorsa’s execution from the IS-supported Boko Haram
faction — Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In the footage, ISWAP threatened to kill the other two health workers if
their demands were not met.

“The ICRC asks all those involved with this case to avoid a repeat of
that devastating outcome,” said Mamadou Sow, ICRC’s head of operations in the
Lake Chad region.

The ICRC called on ISWAP to show “mercy” and not to kill two health
workers who were “doing nothing but helping the communities in northeast
Nigeria”.

“Hauwa and Alice are medical workers who chose to work and help
vulnerable communities in Rann, an area heavily affected by violence,” Sow
said.

The jihadists have increasingly turned to kidnapping for ransom as a way
to finance their operations and win back key commanders in prisoner swaps
with the Nigerian government.

Rann is a remote town on the border with Cameroon where over 60,0000
people who have fled from Boko Haram jihadists depend on emergency food and
medical aid to survive.

The ICRC also called for the release of 15-year old Leah Sharibu who was
among over 100 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist group from a boarding
school in Dapchi in February.

While her colleagues were released weeks after the abduction, Sharibu the
only Christian among them, was held back for refusing to convert Islam.

“Leah Sharibu…is also being held by the same armed group and everything
must be done to ensure she too is released promptly and unharmed,” said
Patricia Danzi, ICRC’s Africa director of operations.

“We urge you: spare and release these women…like all those abducted,
they are not part of any fight,” said Danzi.

President Muhammadu Buhari from the mainly Muslim north, has promised to
secure the release of the hostages.

A government delegation visited Sharibu’s parents on Friday and assured
them of efforts to free their daughter.

BSS/AFP/RY/21:02 hrs