Boko Haram kills second kidnapped aid worker in Nigeria: Red Cross

Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group take part in a protest in the Nigerian capital Abuja on October 16, 2018, following the killing of a kidnapped female Red Cross worker by Daesh-allied Boko Haram militants. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018

Boko Haram kills second kidnapped aid worker in Nigeria: Red Cross

  • The death came just a month after one of her colleagues was murdered
  • More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009

ABUJA: Daesh-allied Boko Haram militants have killed another kidnapped female Red Cross worker in northeast Nigeria in a “despicable act of cruelty,” the agency said on Tuesday, a month after militants murdered one of her colleagues.
Three female health workers were kidnapped on March 1 during a Boko Haram raid on the remote town of Rann, in Borno state, that killed three other aid workers and eight Nigerian soldiers.
Two of the kidnapped women, Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa, worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), while the third, Alice Loksha, worked for the UN children’s agency, UNICEF.
The ICRC said on Tuesday it had received information Liman had been killed by her captors, without giving further details. The government had also earlier announced news of the second killing.
“The news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts,” ICRC’s Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi said in a statement.
“We appealed for mercy and an end to such senseless murders. How can it be that two female health care workers were killed back-to-back?“
There had been no news of the trio until last month when the ICRC said it had received footage of Khorsa’s killing from a Boko Haram faction.
The faction then threatened to kill Liman and Loksha, as well as a 15-year-old Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, in February.
The ICRC last weekend appealed for their release underscoring that they were “doing nothing but helping communities” in the conflict-riven region.
But Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed earlier announced the latest death as a deadline expired and said the government was “shocked and saddened” at the killing, calling it “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly.”
He did not initially identify the victim but later added in a tweet that he “commiserated with the family of Hauwa Liman.”
“It is very unfortunate that it has come to this. Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the federal government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker,” he said.
“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.”
He said officials continued to work to free the others from captivity.
More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, while nearly two million others remain homeless due to the conflict.
Nigeria’s military and government maintain the extremist rebels are weakened to the point of defeat but fighters from the Daesh-backed faction have conducted repeated raids on military bases in recent months.
The faction split from the faction led by long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in August 2016 in protest at the latter’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians in raids and suicide bombings.
Analysts say they believe the switch by militants from attacking “hard” government and military targets to killing hostages is the result of a hard-line takeover of the Daesh-backed faction.
Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, abducting thousands of women and girls, and forcing young men and boys to fight in their ranks.
The mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno state town of Chibok in April 2014 brought global attention to the insurgency and was widely condemned. Some 107 girls have since been released or found.


Families grieve after Kabul wedding blast

An Afghan man mourns during the funeral of his brother after a bomb exploded at a wedding hall killing 63 people and injuring 200 others. (Reuters)
Updated 3 min 33 sec ago

Families grieve after Kabul wedding blast

  • Bride’s relatives, members of music band among victims of Daesh attack

KABUL: Mirwais Elmi’s special night soon became a bloodbath after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the hotel hall where his wedding ceremony was taking place, killing more than 63 people and injuring 200 others in Kabul on Sunday. Elmi and his bride, who were in separate areas of the venue, survived the blast. The explosion took place just before dinner was to be served to the nearly 1,000 guests who had gathered in the southwest of the city.
The local Daesh affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack Speaking to a private TV channel on Sunday, a shaken Elmi was unable to describe the carnage that took place.
“I am not a groom today, my family, my friends are all in grief,” Elmi, who is in his early 20s and works as a tailor, said.
He added that he never thought “such an incident would happen during my wedding party.”
As survivors buried victims of the attack, an infant’s milk bottle and an invitation card could be seen near one of the hotel’s walls, badly damaged by the blast.
The attack comes as the US and Taliban close in on a peace deal which would lead to the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, nearly 18 years after the Taliban were ousted. The group immediately distanced themselves from the attack and strongly condemned it.
Elmi’s father-in-law lost 14 members of his family, while another man lost three of his sons, four nephews and five of his aunt’s grandchildren, according to survivor accounts.
“My family and my bride are in shock, they cannot speak. My bride keeps fainting. I lost my brother, I lost my friends, I lost my relatives. I will never see happiness in my life again,” he said. All five members of the wedding’s music band were killed. The groom and bride’s families, like many of those attending the ceremony, belonged to poor families.  
None of the guests were government officials sought by Daesh or other militant groups.

Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living abroad, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely.

Ghulam Hussien Nasiri, Lawmaker

Many of the victims were children and young men. The hotel had no guards and guests were not body searched, according to survivors.
Shi’ite cultural centers and an anti-government protest have all recently come under attack, but Sunday’s wedding blast was the first of its kind, evoking a reaction from President Ashraf Ghani. He blamed Daesh for the incident. “I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred. “The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide a platform for terrorists,” he tweeted.
Ghulam Hussien Nasiri, a lawmaker, said the attack exposed the government’s weakness.
“Government leaders live behind heavily protected compounds, drive in armored vehicles and have their families living abroad, but we ordinary Afghans are suffering routinely,” he told Arab News.