Boko Haram militants have killed a medical aid worker in Nigeria after a deadline expired. The victim, identified as Hauwa Mohammed Liman, had been held hostage since March. The 24-year old medical aid worker used to work with a Red Cross-supported hospital in Nigeria.
Liman was one of the three medical aid workers who were kidnapped by Islamist extremists during a raid on the town of Rann in the north-eastern Borno state. Earlier in September Boko Haram militants had killed one of the hostages, Saifura Ahmed Khorsa, who used to work as a midwife for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Alice Loksha, the only surviving hostage worked as a nurse in a UNICEF-supported centre.
The ICRC said the news had devastated them. The Nigerian government also condemned the murder, calling it “inhuman and ungodly”.
“It is actually bad news for all of us, for the family, for the humanitarian communities, for the health personnel and for all the women, daughters and mothers of Northern Nigeria and far beyond,” said Patricia Danzi, the ICRC’s regional director.
The rising terror of Boko Haram
Boko Haram, also know as the Islamic State in West Africa, has been waging a war in north-eastern Nigeria for almost a decade. Last month, the militants had posted a video online, in which they clearly stated that one of the hostages would be killed once a deadline (set for Monday) had passed. It is still unclear what their demands were.
The militants also released a video today in which they said that Liman deserved to be killed because she had abandoned Islam by choosing to work for the ICRC. Many local reporters who have seen the video also described how the video showed Liman being shot in close range. Last month, Boko Haram militants had also released a video showing the murder of Khorsa.
Another militant group, which is a faction of the Nigerian Islamist organisation Boko Haram, has also kidnapped a 15-year old schoolgirl named Leah Sharibu. She is one of the 110 schoolgirls who were kidnapped from a boarding school in Dapchi last February. While most of the students have been released, the girl remains in captivity, reportedly because she refused to convert to Islam.
Boko Haram often uses kidnapping (of women and girls) as a weapon of war. In April 2014, militants of the group had abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno state. The mass abduction caught global attention towards the rising insurgency in Nigeria and was heavily condemned.
Despite consolidated efforts of the Nigerian government and armed forces, raids on military bases have continued. Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian information minister, said the government was “deeply pained” by the latest killing but pledged to “keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors”.