Dead Nigerian midwife mourned


The family and colleagues of a Nigerian aid worker killed by her Islamist militant kidnappers mourned her death as the Red Cross said it refused to pay a ransom for her release.

The Nigerian government said a medical aid worker held hostage by Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) militants was killed after a deadline they set expired.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) later named her as 24-year-old midwife Hauwa Mohammed Liman, who worked in a hospital supported by the Geneva-based aid agency.

A senior ICRC official denounced the killing as “a despicable act of cruelty”.

The organisation decided not to pay a ransom as it would set a precedent for the 16,000 aid workers it deploys worldwide, Patricia Danzi, ICRC regional director for Africa, told Reuters.
“We are a humanitarian organisation so we cannot enter into such negotiations. We always ask for unconditional release. And that’s what we did. That was the plea,” she said.

The agency issued a public appeal to her captors at the weekend to spare her life after a threat was made.

The slain aid worker’s father, Mohammed Liman, told Reuters his daughter wanted to serve humanity and that was why she went to a remote area like Rann.
“At the time she was going, I said you should treat the people there and after 10 days she was abducted. It is now seven months and 16 days only to be told she was executed by the insurgents.”

Liman and two other Nigerian aid workers, Alice Loksha and Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, were working in Rann when they were kidnapped by ISWA in March.

Khorsa, also a midwife, was killed in September. Loksha, employed by a UNICEF-supported centre, remains captive, along with Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old Nigerian student abducted by the group in February.


President Muhammadu Buhari said government did everything possible to save Liman’s life but all efforts were unsuccessful.

Buhari urged the ICRC to keep working in Nigeria and said government would do all it can to protect its staff and other aid workers providing humanitarian services in the north-east.

The ICRC helps 80,000 mainly displaced people in the north-eastern town Rann.

Danzi said the ICRC was not planning to suspend operations in northern Nigeria or withdraw.
“We want to be there for the people that need our help.”

ISWA, an Islamic State offshoot, split from Boko Haram, the main Islamic militant group in Nigeria, in 2016. Its fighters killed hundreds of soldiers in north-eastern Nigeria in the past few months.
“The most painful thing is Hauwa and Saifura went to provide humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable. We are telling all humanitarian aid workers if you go out and they capture you there is nothing we can do,” said Bukky Shonibare, a member of the Bring Back Our Girls movement.