Purple Cross makes enchantment for workers kidnapped in Syria

Nabil BakdounesPicture copyright
Purple Cross

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Nabil Bakdounes was kidnapped in 2013

The Purple Cross is in search of details about three workers members kidnapped in Syria five-and-a-half years in the past.

In its first detailed assertion on the incident, it says Louisa Akavi, Alaa Rajab and Nabil Bakdounes had been seized in October 2013 whereas travelling to Idlib province in north-western Syria.

Ms Akavi was held by the Islamic State group and there may be proof she was alive in late 2018, the Purple Cross says.

The destiny of Mr Rajab and Mr Bakdounes isn’t identified.

Ms Akavi, a citizen of New Zealand, is a 62-year-old nurse who has carried out 17 discipline missions. Alaa Rajab and Nabil Bakdounes, each Syrian nationals, labored as drivers who delivered humanitarian help within the nation.

New Zealand says that a particular forces crew has been making an attempt to find Ms Akavi.

“This has concerned members of the NZDF [New Zealand Defence Force] drawn from the Particular Operations Pressure, and personnel have visited Syria on occasion as required,” mentioned Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

“This non-combat crew was particularly targeted on finding Louisa and figuring out alternatives to recuperate her.”

Picture copyright
Purple Cross

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Louisa Akavi has been held by the Islamic State group

“The previous 5 and a half years have been an especially tough time for the households of our three kidnapped colleagues. Louisa is a real and compassionate humanitarian. Alaa and Nabil had been dedicated colleagues and an integral a part of our help deliveries,” mentioned Dominik Stillhart, ICRC’s director of operations.

“We name on anybody with info to please come ahead. If our colleagues are nonetheless being held, we name for his or her fast and unconditional launch.”

Is that this the top for Islamic State?
Contained in the Islamic State kidnap machine

There are elevated considerations for Ms Akavi’s security following the autumn of the final territory held by Islamic State (IS) close to the Iraqi border final month.

Ms Akavi spoke of her work in a 2010 interview for a New Zealand newspaper. “It does grow to be a bit bit exhausting, however it’s the small issues. It is working with the nationwide workers who do the most effective they’ll,” she mentioned.

“We’re talking out in the present day to publicly honour and acknowledge Louisa’s, Alaa’s, and Nabil’s hardship and struggling. We additionally need our three colleagues to know that we have all the time continued to seek for them and we’re nonetheless making an attempt our hardest to seek out them. We’re wanting ahead to the day we are able to see them once more,” Mr Stillhart mentioned.

A veteran of battle zones

Imogen Foulkes, BBC Information Geneva

Louisa Akavi is a veteran of battle zones who has labored in Bosnia, Somalia, and Afghanistan. She survived the 1996 assault on the Purple Cross compound in Chechnya, by which six colleagues had been killed.

In 1999 she was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal for providers to nursing.

The ICRC, which labored tirelessly behind the scenes to seek out her and the 2 Syrian workers members kidnapped together with her, is aware of that she frolicked in Raqqa, and that she was alive on the finish of final 12 months.

Refugees fleeing the final strongholds of Islamic State report seeing her, nonetheless working as a nurse. However no-one can know what she skilled, and what her psychological state is now.

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