Search for Red Cross staff in Syria

by Vanessa Alan, Eben Gourlay, Josh Labrecque, and Chase Douglas

Three Red Cross members were abducted in Syria in 2013 and the organization is seeking information on them, according to BBC.

Louisa Akavi, Alaa Rajab, and Nabil Bakdounes were all captured in October 2013 while travelling to Idlib province in north-western Syria.

According to the Red Cross, there is evidence that Akavi is still alive after being captured by the Islamic State. A special forces

(Photo: BBC News)

team is trying to locate her. The current well-being of Rajab and Bakdounes is unknown.

Akavi, a New Zealand citizen, is a nurse who has worked 17 different field missions. Syrian nationals, Rajah and Bakdounes, were drivers who helped to deliver humanitarian assistance in Syria.

“It absolutely remains the government’s view that it would be preferable if this case was not in the public domain,” said Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister. She refused to answer questions about the case at her weekly news conference.

Since last months fall of the last territory held by the Islamic State near the border of Iraq, there has been an increase in concern for Akabi’s well-being.

“The past five and a half years have been extremely difficult time for the families of our three abducted colleagues. Louisa is a true and compassionate humanitarian,” said Dominick Stillhard, the Internal Committee of the Red Cross’s director of operations. “Alaa and Nabil were committed colleagues and an integral part of our aid deliveries.”


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