We Spared No Effort to Get Slain Midwife Released, Says ICRC

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that no effort was spared to effect the release of the slain midwife, Saifura Hussein Ahmad Korsa, from her abductors.

The organisation has also declared that the killing of the midwife and the continued detention of two other staff by Boko Haram has impacted on the capacity to deliver much-needed aid to people affected by the armed conflict in the North-east.

The ICRC, in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesperson in Nigeria, Aleksandra Mosimann, disclosed that Dominik Stillhart, the Global Director of Operations for ICRC and Patrick Youssef, its Deputy Director for African Operations, were in Nigeria to pay official condolences to the ICRC family of the slain midwife, Saifura Hussein Ahmad Korsa.

The statement said the two senior staff of the organisation on Wednesday completed a two-day visit to Nigeria, adding that they were in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, where they formally presented their condolences to the family of the slain midwife, who was killed “in a horrific act of brutality on September 16.”

The statement reads: “Saifura was abducted in Rann, Borno state on March 1, 2018 together with two other health workers who remain in captivity: Hauwa Mohamed Liman and Alice Loksha Ngaddah.

“Saifura and Hauwa worked as midwives in an ICRC-supported health care clinic in Rann, managed by the Nigerian Ministry of Health. ICRC senior management also met Hauwa’s family to transmit messages of support and solidarity on behalf of colleagues.”

The statement quoted Stillhart as saying that, “I travelled from our headquarters in Geneva to Maiduguri to pay tribute to our late colleague, Saifura, and to give my respects to her family in person.

“I also wanted to re­assure them and Hauwa’s family of our continuous support. Hauwa’s family still live with the agony of separation, and I was deeply moved by the despair and anxiety her parents are feeling. No parent should ever be put in such a situation!”

The statement said: “Following the abduction of the three women, the ICRC spared no efforts to persuade their captors to release them safely,” a plea which Stillhart reiterated to the group holding them

He said: “We are appealing again to those holding Hauwa and Alice to release them safely as soon as possible. They are health care workers and must be protected!”

The statement said: “On Wednesday, the two senior leaders also met with the Vice-President of Nigeria and other officials in Abuja, with whom they discussed the plight of the remaining hostages and severe challenges faced by humanitarian workers in north-eastern Nigeria.”

“These tragic events will certainly have an impact on our capacity to deliver much needed aid to people affected by the armed conflict in the north-east of Nigeria. Nevertheless, we remain committed to continue responding to the tremendous humanitarian needs in what remains one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time in Africa, while doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our teams.” Stillhart said.

The statement said: “Between January and September 2018, almost half a million people in north-eastern and north-central Nigeria received health care services in ICRC-supported clinics, where 15,500 children were born and almost 7,400 children suffering from malnutrition received treatment.”