The execution of 24-year old Hauwa Mohammed Liman by a faction of the Boko Haram sect in north-eastern Nigeria calls for increasing concern over the safety and security of health workers delivering emergency services. PSI is shocked by this cruel act and calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take necessary action to bring an end to this reign of terror.
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Hauwa, a registered nurse and student of Health Education at the University of Maiduguri is the second to be killed of three aid workers kidnapped in March by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP). Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, a 25-year old midwife, was killed last month. They both worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In a statement issued by the terror group, Alice Loksha, who works with UNICEF will remain their hostage as a slave. She is the third health worker abducted alongside Hauwa and Saifura. Every step necessary must be taken to spare her this gruesome fate.
It is regrettable that the Nigerian state could not rescue Hauwa and Saifura. Their murders send a dangerous message of the inability of the Nigerian state to protect health workers in conflict zones. There are 3,000 aid workers helping to bring succour to two million internally displaced persons in that region of the country, 79% of which are women.
It is not enough for the leadership of the country to say the government “did everything possible to save Hauwa’s life”. This is one murder too many – the government must live up to its responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of lives.
Public Services International sympathises with the family of Hauwa Liman and the ICRC. Hauwa had the full support of her family in her commitment to humanitarian services.
Her grieving father, Mohammed Liman said Hauwa wanted to serve humanity, which is why she went to a remote area like Ranna where the IDP camp was, saying:
“At the time she was going, I said you should go and treat the people over there, and just after 10 days she was abducted. It is now seven months and 16 days only to be told that yesterday she was executed by the insurgents."
This should not be the fate of emergency service workers delivering health and social care. No parent should be made to bear this sort of painful loss in the region, again.
The government of Nigeria must do all it can to ensure Alice Loksha and all other hostages being held by ISWAP and similar terrorist groups in the country are released. Nothing less is acceptable.