The Red Cross has appealed to the Nigerian Government and other influential individuals 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 town of Rann in Borno State following an attack by IS-affiliated Boko Haram faction that left three other health workers and eight Nigerian soldiers killed.
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.
The ICRC said it had received footage of Khorsa’s execution from the IS-supported Boko Haram faction — Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Channels writes.
And 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 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.
“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.