Red Cross appeals for three staff missing in Syria since 2013

Today we are making
a public plea for information about
three of our staff members who were abducted
in Syria in 2013. The staff are Louisa Akavi,
a dedicated and committed nurse from New Zealand, who has been
working for the Red Cross ever since 1988. And also Alaa Rajab
and Nabil Bakdounes, both Syrians who have been
working for us as drivers and both of them, I know,
are loving husbands and caring fathers. This is the longest ever
abduction case in the 150 years history
of the ICRC. The past five years have been
beyond difficult for the families and friends of Louisa, Alla and Nabil,
who are desperately waiting for news. – Our sister, cousin and aunt Louisa
was taken in Syria in October, 2013. Our family misses her very much
and is concerned for her safety. We think about her everyday
and hope she feels that and finds strength in that. We know she’s thinking of us
and that she will be worried about us too. I want to tell you – Louisa,
Alaa and Nabil – we have continued searching
for you throughout all these years and we won’t give up hope
to see you once again among us. Unfortunately, and despite all
our efforts, we don’t know what’s happened to Alaa
and Nabil ever since 2013. As to Louisa, we know that
she is held captive by the Islamic State group
and we have repeatedly received credible information
about her whereabouts. The last such information dates
back as recently as December, 2018. I can’t even start imagining
the suffering and hardship Louisa has gone through. What we actually know is that
Louisa has been working as a nurse during her abduction,
which shows her dedication and commitment to the mission
and mandate of the Red Cross: caring for people affected
by conflict. With the loss of territory of
the Islamic State in Syria, the urgency to find our colleagues
has reached a new peak. We are just calling on anybody
who has information on Louisa, Alaa and Nabil to urgently
step forward and share this information
with us.

Author: Kevin Mason

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