ICRC decries Boko Haram’s 24-hour deadline on abducted healthcare workers

The International Committee of the Red Cross has expressed concerns over the 24-hour deadline given by Boko Haram to eliminate another female staff held captive by the insurgents.

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

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

According to 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.

To the holders 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.’’

Sow noted that Hauwa worked in a hospital supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross  when she was abducted March 1, 2018 with Alice, a nurse who worked at 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.

According to him, the third health care worker abducted alongside Hauwa and Alice was ICRC colleague, Saifura Hussaini, who was killed by her abductors in September.

Sow urged those involved with this case to do everything they could to avoid a repeat of that devastating outcome.

He 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.

(NAN)

 

Hassan Usman Author

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