UN, ICRC, doctors condemn Hauwa Liman’s murder

The international community and doctors in Nigeria have condemned the killing this week of a second health worker abducted in the north east of Nigeria last month. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon was “appalled” at the killing of Hauwa Liman, an aid worker with the Internationl Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). ICRC itself in a statement announcing the killing said it was “utterly devastating” to have to write that sentence in the wake of a “despicable act of cruelty.” The secretary-general urged that “those responsible for this killing must be brought to justice.” ICRC’s regional director for Africa, Patricia Danzi, said news of Hauwa’s death “has broken our hearts.” “We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female healthcare workers were killed back-to-back? Nothing can justify this.” Midwife Hauwa, 24, was abducted in an attack in Rann on March 1, together with Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa and Alice Loksha. Saifura was deliberately killed on 16 September, while Alice remains in captivity, along with Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old student abducted by the group in a separate incident in February, ICRC said. Hauwa and Saifura worked in a health-care centre supported by the ICRC; Alice worked in a centre supported by UNICEF. The ICRC made sustained and committed efforts to secure the release of the three health-care workers, including a last-minute plea for mercy on Sunday to the Islamic State West Africa Province group, to no avail. “Hauwa and Saifura’s deaths are not only a tragedy for their families, but they will also be felt by thousands of people in Rann and other conflict-affected areas of north-east Nigeria where accessing health care remains a challenge. We urge the group holding Alice and Leah to release them safely,” said Danzi. Similarly, the Nigerian Medical Association called Hauwa’s killing “a despicable act with a devastating effect on humanity.” “We equally condemn the incessant killing of innocent souls by the Boko Haram sect,” said Dr Obitade Obimakinde, the association’s publicity secretary in a statement. It raised concern for protection for aidworkers offering humanitarian services, saying, “Adequate and proactive security measures would have prevented the needless act of terrorism and kidnapping embarked upon by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.”

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