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Fresh concerns about Leah Sharibu’s safety

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By Sam Eyoboka with Agency reports

AN international charity Thursday declared that six of its aid workers who were kidnapped in Borno State, Nigeria last week have appeared in a video renewing fresh concerns for the safety of Leah Sharibu and Alice Loksha, a UNICEF worker.

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Action Against Hunger says the six – comprised of one staff member, plus drivers and health workers employed locally – are “apparently in a good condition of health”.

It is urging captors to release them.

The unverifiable video, seen by the BBC, shows one of the aid workers wearing a light blue hijab pleading with the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Nigerian Government and the international community to assist in their release to avoid what happened to earlier aid workers including Alice and Leah Sharibu.

Surrounded by five men believed to be her colleagues, the woman says her name is Grace, and calls on the Nigerian government and international community to intervene.

In the video, Grace pleaded with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the federal government to secure their release.

Grace making reference to Hawa Liman and Leah Sharibu, a secondary school student kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe state said ‘The Nigerian government should please do something to see that we are released because this has occurred before… some ladies were caught, Hauwa and Ziphora, they also asked to be released but because Nigeria did not do anything about it, they were killed. I am begging on behalf of all of us here that please Nigerians should not allow such to happen to us and it also happened again with Leah and Alice because Nigeria could not do anything about them. They were not released; they were also killed,”.

Could she this mean that Leah Sharibu has been killed?

There are two main groups active in north-eastern Nigeria where the abduction happened – Boko Haram and the rival Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.

Earlier this week, Action Against Hunger released a statement saying a convoy of its vehicles on the road to Damasak, in Borno State, had been attacked. It said one of the drivers was killed, and the rest of the team were missing.

“These are humanitarian workers who chose to devote their lives to helping the most vulnerable,” the Paris-based charity says in its latest statement released on Thursday.

The Presidency on Thursday expressed worry over the recent video released by the terrorist group showing some abducted Nigerians.

The Presidency said that the latest video has created urgency for the security agencies especially the secret services in the efforts to ensuring the release of those on the captivity of terrorist groups.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja read, “The Presidency has been briefed by the responsible government agency about the disturbing video showing our citizens, the humanitarian aid workers held captive.

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” Presidency has been given assurances that contact is being made and the captors are being talked to.

“Besides these aid workers, there are some others about whom this engagement is about-Leah Sharibu, a religious leader and all the others.

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“These discussions have been ongoing even before this time and what this latest incident has done is to bring urgency to the efforts that the secret service is making.

“Government is making contacts, in the hope that the captors will see reason to not visit hardship or even harm on these innocent individuals. Government is working.”


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