The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has condemned the murder of its humanitarian worker, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, by a Boko Haram faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
The ICRC also pleaded with ISWAP to immediately release a second ICRC midwife, Hauwa Mohammed Liman, and another health-care worker, Alice Loksha, abducted in Borno State in March.
In a statement on its website, the group said:
“We are devastated by the murder of our colleague Saifura,” said Eloi Fillion, the head of the ICRC delegation in Abuja.
“Saifura moved to Rann to selflessly help those in need. Our thoughts are with her family and other loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.”
The group said the deceased as well as Hauwa Mohammed Liman and Alice Loksha, a nurse working in a UNICEF-supported centre, were kidnapped while providing essential antenatal care to communities in Rann, Borno State.
Rann’s population has more than doubled after an influx of people fleeing violence.
“We urge those still holding our colleague Hauwa and Alice: release these women. Like Saifura, they are not part of the fight. They are a midwife and a nurse. They are daughters, a wife, and a mother – women with families that depend on them,” said Fillion.
“Their families and friends miss them dearly and will not give up the hope of seeing them again soon. There is no ideology or religious law that could justify doing any harm to them.”
Saifura, 25, was a devoted mother and midwife. Those who knew her said she adored her two children, a two-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl. The children have not been able to comprehend their mother’s absence, as they frequently asked their grandmother if a passing plane was bringing their mother home. That grandmother must now find the words to tell two children their mother will never return.
The ICRC will not comment on the identity of the women’s abductors, their motives or the details surrounding Saifura’s death.
Since the women’s abduction six months ago, the ICRC has made sustained and committed efforts to secure the three healthcare workers’ release and will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that Hauwa and Alice are released and can return to their families immediately.