Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria have executed a female aid worker on video and warned that others, including a Christian teen girl, are next.
The video, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, was released by the Barnawi faction of Boko Haram. In it, the terrorists tie up and shoot from behind 25-year-old Saifura Husseini Ahmed, a midwife with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Ahmed had been abducted back in March along with another ICRC worker and a UNICEF nurse. An unnamed radical describes the video as a "message of blood," and accuses the Nigerian government of ignoring written and audio messages.
The man warns that "the other nurse and midwife will be executed in similar manner in one month, including Leah Sharibu," referring to the schoolgirl who was taken in February.
Sharibu, who has refused to renounce her Christian faith and embrace Islam as a condition for her freedom, has become the face of several international campaigns around the world.
Eloi Fillion, the head of the ICRC delegation in Abuja, said the relief group is "devastated" by the murder of its worker.
"Saifura moved to Rann to selflessly help those in need. Our thoughts are with her family and other loved ones at this incredibly difficult time," Fillion said.
He urged the captors to release the other women, colleague Hauwa Mohammed Liman and UNICEF's Alice Loksha.
"Like Saifura, they are not part of the fight. They are a midwife and a nurse. They are daughters, a wife, and a mother — women with families that depend on them," he said.
"Their families and friends miss them dearly and will not give up the hope of seeing them again soon. There is no ideology or religious law that could justify doing any harm to them."
Boko Haram has been killing Christians, Muslims and other civilians in its battle against the Nigerian government since 2009, and has bombed churches and mosques, seeking to drive out all Christian believers from the country.
At the end of August, the radicals released a photo of Sharibu and an audio message where the schoolgirl pleads with the Nigerian government to come to her aid.
"Kindly help me out of my predicament. I am begging you to treat me with compassion, I am calling on the government, particularly the president, to pity me and get me out of this serious situation," the girl asks in the audio clip.
Despite this, her parents told Morning Star News last week that they have not heard a single word from the government about efforts to rescue their daughter.
"Unfortunately, since the abduction of our daughter, no government official in Nigeria has contacted us or even let us know the effort the government is making towards the release of my daughter," said Nathan Sharibu, the father.
The Nigerian presidency has responded to the "message of blood" video by saying that it "strongly condemns this reprehensible and inhuman act." It warned the terrorists that its army and its allies will do everything they can to ensure the return of all hostages.
CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said that the "pain and devastation" Ahmed's family is experiencing can only be imagined.
"This cruel, senseless and inhumane act has deprived a young family of a devoted mother and wife, and the world of a dedicated aid worker. The cowardly murder of an innocent young woman who served humanity selflessly, and the threat to murder three more, highlights the wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life on the part of both factions of Boko Haram, and the heinous lengths to which they will go to extort and to garner attention," Thomas said.
"Once again we call on the government, which has primary responsibility for the protection of Nigerian citizens, to expedite the release of Hauwa Mohammed Liman, Alice Loksha Ngaddah and Leah Sharibu, to secure the release of the 112 remaining Chibok girls as a matter of urgency, and to ensure that the armed forces are fully equipped to address this brutal insurgency."