Red Cross reveals abducted staff in Syria, missing for 5 years

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:21 AM PT – Monday, April 15, 2019

The Red Cross is seeking information on three of its employees in Syria, who were allegedly abducted by ISIS more than five-years ago.

Those missing include a nurse from New Zealand — Louisa Akavi — and two Syrian nationals, who helped deliver humanitarian aid.

This undated photo provided on Monday, April 15, 2019, by International Committee of the Red Cross shows Syrian driver Nabil Bakdounes. New Zealand’s foreign minister has confirmed a New Zealand nurse has been held captive by the Islamic State group in Syria for almost six years, information long kept secret for fear her life might be at risk. The collapse of ISIS has raised hopes Louisa Akavi and two Syrian drivers, Nabil Bakdounes and Alaa Rajab, kidnapped with her might now be discovered. (International Committee of the Red Cross via AP)

Information about their captivity had been kept secret for their safety, but their identities have been released following the U.S.-backed takedown of the last ISIS stronghold in Syria.

There is reportedly evidence that 62-year-old Akavi was seen alive late last year, but the fate of the Syrian nationals is unknown. Akavi was on her 17th mission to the region. According to eyewitness accounts, she has still been working as a nurse throughout her abduction.

“With the loss of territory of the Islamic State in Syria, the urgency to find our colleagues has reached a new peak. We are thus calling on anybody who has information on Louisa, Alaa and Nabil to urgently step forward and share this information with us.” — Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations – International Committee of the Red Cross 

This undated photo released by International Committee of the Red Cross, the organization’s New Zealand nurse Louisa Akavi. New Zealand’s foreign minister has confirmed the nurse has been held captive by the Islamic State group in Syria for almost six years, information long kept secret for fear her life might be at risk. (International Committee of the Red Cross via AP)