Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

ISIS-aligned group executes four hostages in Nigeria

A Paris-based NGO has called for the release of a staff member still held captive

A screen grab taken from a video released in July by ISWAP purportedly shows a female aid worker from the NGO Action Against Hunger and five male colleagues kidnapped in an attack in north-east Nigeria. AFP
A screen grab taken from a video released in July by ISWAP purportedly shows a female aid worker from the NGO Action Against Hunger and five male colleagues kidnapped in an attack in north-east Nigeria. AFP

Extremists have executed four Nigerian hostages held since July, the French aid group Action Against Hunger said on Friday.

The four were among six hostages held by the extremists, the Paris-based NGO said, adding that one of its staff and two drivers were among those killed.

"The armed group responsible for the kidnapping of humanitarian workers on July 18, have murdered four hostages," Action Against Hunger said in a statement that did not identify the victims.

Another of the hostages was killed in September.

The French aid group called for the immediate release of the last detained hostage, saying it is "extremely concerned and calls for the immediate release of its staff member, Grace, who remains in captivity".

The six, an Action Against Hunger employee, two drivers and three health ministry personnel were kidnapped while delivering humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in Borno State.

Their driver was killed in the kidnap ambush carried out by militants believed to be members of the ISIS offshoot group ISWAP.

The ISIS-aligned militants then released a video purporting to show the one female aid worker and five male colleagues who had been kidnapped in an attack in north-east Nigeria.

ISWAP is a splinter group of Boko Haram that swore allegiance in 2016 to then ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

It has repeatedly attacked military bases and previously targeted aid workers in north-east 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," the group said in its statement.

On Thursday ISWAP fighters killed 14 member of an anti-extremist militia and a police officer in north-east Nigeria, militia leaders told AFP on Friday.

The militia was comprised of local hunters across the north-east along with the state funded Civilian Joint Task Force, an armed vigilante group.

The decade-long insurgency has killed 35,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in north-east Nigeria.

The violence has now spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.

Action Against Hunger said it is currently providing food assistance every month to approximately 300,000 people in north-east Nigeria, as well helping thousands more with life-saving health and nutrition services.

Updated: December 15, 2019 09:19 AM

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