Geneva/Abuja (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross condemns in the strongest terms the tragic killing of its abducted colleague Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa. It is appealing to the armed group to immediately release a second ICRC midwife and another health-care worker taken in north-eastern Nigeria in March.
"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."
At the time of their abduction, Saifura, as well as our colleague Hauwa Mohammed Liman and Alice Loksha, a nurse working in a UNICEF-supported centre, were providing essential antenatal care to communities in Rann, whose 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 health care 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.
Note to editors: The ICRC asks that journalists respect the privacy of the affected families and that media outlets refrain from using images that may circulate, especially violent or graphic images.
For further information, please contact:
Aleksandra Matijevic Mosimann, ICRC Abuja, + 234 903 15 55 43 (English)
Krista Armstrong, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 217 32 87 (English & French)
Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 251 93 02 (English, French & Russian)
Or our duty number: +41 22 730 34 43