Islamic State-linked extremists in Nigeria have killed another abducted health worker despite an urgent plea from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRS) to spare her life, Nigeria’s government said late Monday.
The government identified her as Hauwa Mohammed Liman, who had been working in a hospital supported by the ICRC. It comes a month after a health worker abducted with her was killed by the same group, the Islamic State West Africa Province, the largest IS-linked extremist group in Africa.
The ICRC in a statement early Tuesday noted the “devastating reports” and said that “at this stage, we don’t have confirmation this is true. We desperately hope not.”
The ICRC, which does not pay ransoms, has said it was not directly involved in discussions on the extremists’ demands. On Sunday it issued a plea saying “we urge you for mercy” and noted that a 24-hour deadline was counting down.
The statement by Nigeria’s information minister said “the federal government did all within its powers to save her life” and had kept the “line of negotiations” open since the abductions.
The government was “shocked and saddened” and would continue to work for the safe release of other captives, the statement said.
Three health workers were seized in March in the northeastern community of Rann, where thousands have sought shelter from the extremist threat that includes the Nigeria-based Boko Haram insurgency.
The killing in September of Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa led to outrage. She was abducted along with Liman and Alice Loksha, a nurse who worked at a center supported by the U.N. children’s agency.
The same extremist organization also is holding Leah Sharibu, a student seized in a mass abduction in February. She remains captive while more than 100 of her fellow students were released because she is Christian. Her mother in recent weeks has said her life was in danger.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who declared that defeating extremism was a top priority when he took power in 2015, last week sent three Cabinet ministers to meet with the families of Sharibu and the abducted health workers, his office said.
Buhari had called the killing of Khorsa “an act of extreme barbarism; utterly reprehensible and inhuman.”