The Nigerian government says a second female aid worker kidnapped earlier this year by an extremist Islamic group has been murdered.
The information ministry late Monday identified the victim as Hauwa Mohammed Liman, who worked at a hospital supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Liman and Saifura Khorsa, who also worked for the ICRC, were abducted in March during a raid on the remote town of Rann in Borno state, along with Alice Loksha, a nurse who worked at a health center supported by the U.N.'s children agency UNICEF. The women were kidnapped by militants with the Islamic State West Africa Province, a breakaway faction of the Islamic State-affiliated group Boko Haram.
The group murdered Khorsa last month, and released a video threatening to kill one of the other women by Monday if the government did not meet its demands, which have not been revealed.
The Information Ministry said the government "kept the line of negotiations" with the captors open, and did "all within its powers" to save Liman's life.
“The news of Hauwa’s death has broken our hearts,” said ICRC’s Regional Director for Africa, Patricia Danzi. “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? Nothing can justify this.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the killing of Hauwa Mohammed Liman and expressed concern for all remaining hostages, in a statement issued by his spokesman.
In addition to Loksha, the ISWAP is also holding 15-year-old Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old Christian schoolgirl kidnapped in February from the town of Dapchi.
Boko Haram, which promotes an extreme form of Islamist fundamentalism and opposes Western-style education, is blamed for the deaths of more than 30,000 people and for the dislocation of more than two million others as part of an insurgency that began in 2009. The group made international headlines in April 2014 when it abducted 276 schoolgirls from a secondary school in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok. According to #BringBackOurGirls, the social media campaign and organization that formed after the kidnapping, 112 girls are still missing.