Top UN official in Nigeria condemns killing of abducted aid worker; calls for immediate release of two others

17 September 2018

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, condemned on Monday the killing of an aid worker who had been held captive by a non-state armed group in north-east Nigeria since  March.

Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, a 25-year-old midwife and nurse who worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the town of Rann, near the border with Cameroon, had been abducted on 1 March following an attack on the area, by armed extremists, in which dozens were killed.

Among the casualties that day, were three UN aid workers: Emmanuel Yawe Sonter and Ibrahim Lawan who worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Dr. Izuogu Onyedikachi who worked with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Two other female aid workers, who worked with UNICEF and ICRC, were also kidnapped during that incident and remain in captivity.

View of Rann, north-east Nigeria, where over 60,000 internally diplaced persons are settled. OCHA/Yasmina Guerda. 

"The killing of Ms. Hussaini, a young, dedicated and passionate midwife and humanitarian, is a cowardly, heinous and despicable act," said Mr. Kallon. "Our deepest condolences go to her family, including her two young children, and friends. The United Nations calls on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice and account. The United Nations also calls for the immediate release of the two aid workers who are still being held."

The Humanitarian Coordinator stated that "this incident demonstrates the severe challenges that Nigeria continues to face, but it will not deter the international community from providing aid to millions of Nigerians caught up in the conflict in the north-east”, adding that the UN “stands in solidarity with the humanitarian community".

According to the UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) the international response in Rann is providing life-saving assistance – including food, safe water, shelter and medical care – to over 60,000 internally displaced persons, and millions in the rest of the north-east of the country. Close to 3,000 aid workers are present in the north-east, the majority of whom are Nigerian nationals.

The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria's north-east is one of the most severe in the world today, with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, 6.1 million of whom targeted for humanitarian assistance in 2018.

 

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