Four out of five abducted aid workers of Action Against Hunger (AAH), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), have been killed by the Islamic State in the West African Province (ISWAP), a faction of the Boko Haram insurgent group. 12 others held by the group have cried out for help from the Federal Government and the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN).
Two Christian lecturers of the College of Education in Gashua, Yobe State have featured in a video released by ISWAP pleading with the government and CAN to arrange for their release and other Christians.
Bitrus Bwala, who spoke for the abducted Christians, said he was kidnapped in the last week of November adding that Leah Sharibu remained with the factional insurgent group because the government had not done enough.
Sharibu has been held by ISWAP, since she refused to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ. More than a hundred others abducted with her last year from the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State were released after the federal government allegedly paid a huge ransom. Government denied it paid any ransom.
The latest video had a female abductee, whose face was shaded and 11 others. Bwala also referred to the murdered aid workers in the video.
Ahmed Salkida, a journalist known to have access to the leadership of Boko Haram, disclosed the death of the aid workers in a series of tweets on Friday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned what he described as the alleged execution of the four aid workers by the terrorists in North-eastern Nigeria, saying the defeat of evil by good is inevitable, no matter the pyrrhic victory evildoers seem to win.
The President feels saddened by the claimed development, and commiserates with the family and loved ones of the aid workers, who had offered themselves to serve humanity at grave risks, according to a statement from his office.
The aid workers had been abducted near Damasak, Borno State, in July, and had been held despite all efforts to secure their release, till their alleged execution.
“Evil will always be defeated by good at the end of the day. Whatever seeming victory evil records, eventually rebounds on the evildoer. We are resolved to beat evil in this land, and we remain unrelenting till we achieve it,” President Buhari says.
He urged all insurgents once again to lay down their arms, and rejoin decent humanity.
Recall that six aid workers, five male and a female, were kidnapped by members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) after their convoy was attacked in Damasak, Borno state, in July.
One of the aid workers, a male, was killed in September. The insurgents alleged that they took the action because “the government deceived them”.
According to Salkida, the remaining aid worker, Grace Taku, who is the only female, has not been killed but condemned to a “life of slavery”.
He quoted the insurgents as saying the execution of the four aide workers followed the breakdown of talks with the federal government.
“ISWAP executes four more, releases video. All four are male humanitarian workers of Action Against Hunger abducted since July, 2019. The only female amongst them, Grace Taku, according to ISWAP, is condemned to life of slavery,” he tweeted.
“ISWAP claims the execution was as a result of breakdown of talks with the government.”
“The government is not sincere and do not respect timelines,” reports an ISWAP source. Taku’s fate is now the same with other Christian female captives with the terror group.”
ISWAP claims the execution was as a result of breakdown of talks with the government. “The government is not sincere and do not respect timelines,” reports an ISWAP source. Taku’s fate is now the same with other Christian female captives with the terror group.
Reacting in a statement, AAH condemned the killing of the aid workers and asked for the immediate release of the surviving aid worker.
“The armed group responsible for kidnapping six humanitarian workers in north-east Nigeria on 18 July, 2019 today claimed they have executed four hostages. This brings the number of fatalities to five,” the statement said.
“Action Against Hunger extends its deepest sympathies to their loved ones and our colleagues in Nigeria.
“Action Against Hunger condemns these latest killings in the strongest terms and deeply regrets that its calls for the release of the hostages have not been acted upon.
“Action Against Hunger is extremely concerned and calls for the immediate release of its staff member, Grace, who remains in captivity.
“Action Against Hunger states categorically that every attack against humanitarian workers ultimately impacts vulnerable civilians.”
Additional reports by The Cable