Islamic State-linked extremists in Nigeria have killed the second of three abducted health workers, Nigeria’s government said late Monday — the death coming a month after the first health worker was killed by the Islamic State West Africa Province.
The government identified her as Hauwa Mohammed Liman, who had been working in a hospital supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
All three workers were seized in March in Nigeria’s 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 statement by Nigeria’s information minister on Monday added that the government was “shocked and saddened,” and would continue to work for the release of other captives.
“The federal government did all within its powers to save her life,” the statement said, adding that the government had kept the “line of negotiations” open since the abductions.
An urgent plea to the largest ISIS-linked extremist group in Africa had come from the ICRC to spare Liman’s life, Nigeria’s government said late Monday.
There was no immediate comment from the ICRC, which on Sunday said “we urge you for mercy” and noted that a 24-hour deadline was counting down. The global aid organization urged Nigerian officials and others who might have influence to help.
The ICRC, which does not pay ransoms, earlier said it had not been directly involved in discussions on the extremists’ demands.
The same group of extremists 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, in recent days sent three Cabinet ministers to meet with the families of Sharibu and the abducted health workers, his office said.
Buhari last month called the killing of Khorsa “an act of extreme barbarism; utterly reprehensible and inhuman.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.