Boko Haram kills another abducted aid worker
Boko Haram have killed another female aid worker in northeast Nigeria, just one month after one of her colleagues was also killed by the Islamic State-allied jihadists.
Three female health workers were kidnapped during a Boko Haram raid on the remote town of Rann, in Borno state, on 1 March that killed three other aid workers and eight Nigerian soldiers.
Two of the kidnapped women, Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa, worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, while the third, Alice Loksha, worked for the children's agency UNICEF.
There had been no news of the trio until last month when the ICRC said it had received footage of Khorsa's killing from the IS-backed Boko Haram faction Islamic State West Africa Province.
ISWAP then threatened to kill Liman and Loksha, as well as a 15-year-old Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu who was kidnapped from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, in February.
The ICRC last weekend appealed for the captives' release and for the jihadists to show mercy, as they were "doing nothing but helping communities" in the conflict-riven region.
But Nigeria's Information Minister Lai Mohammed announced the latest death as a deadline expired and said the government was "shocked and saddened" at the unjustified killing, calling it "dastardly, inhuman and ungodly".
He did not initially identify the victim but later added in a tweet that expressed sorrow for the family of Hauwa Liman.
More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, while nearly two million others remain homeless.
Nigeria's government and military have long maintained that the Islamic State group affiliate is a spent force and on the verge of defeat.
But there has been no let-up in attacks in the northeast, particularly in Borno state, adjacent to Adamawa, which has been the epicentre of the violence.
ISWAP split from the faction led by long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in August 2016 in protest at the latter's indiscriminate targeting of civilians in raids and suicide bombings.
Analysts tracing the conflict believe the switch from attacking "hard" government and military targets to killing hostages is the result of a hardline takeover of the IS-backed faction.
Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, abducting thousands of women and girls.
The conflict has also caused a humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region, particularly chronic food shortages.
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