Nigerian officials confirmed the death of an aid worker held by Boko Haram on Monday, a day after the extremists aligned with Islamic State threatened to kill her within 24 hours.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, condemned the death of Hauwa Mohammed Liman, above, and extended Nigeria’s condolences to her family and colleagues.
”We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker. However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors,” the Minister said.
He said the federal government “did everything any responsible government should do” to try and save Liman, who worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Rann in northeastern Borno state before she was abducted on March 1. ICRC colleague Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa was killed by the abductors in September.
Mamadou Sow, the head of ICRC’s Operations in the Lake Chad Basin, said Monday night that the organization still was waiting for confirmation on Liman’s death.
“We are hearing devastating reports that Hauwa has been executed. At this stage, we don’t have confirmation this is true,” he said on social media. “We desperately hope not. We will provide an update when we have accurate information. This situation is heartbreaking, and we stand by the side of her family.”
Sow and Henrietta Fore, the director of UNICEF, issued desperate pleas on Sunday on behalf of the aid workers. Alice Loksha, a nurse at a facility run by the United Nations children’s agency, was abducted with Liman. There is no indication that she also was killed.
“It’s been 228 days since Hauwa and Alice, two dedicated health workers, have been abducted,” Fore said. “To the group who kidnapped them and is threatening to execute them: Please have mercy. To anyone with influence: Please help release them.”
The same group is holding Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old school student taken from her school in Dapchi in a separate incident in February.