New Zealand's foreign minister confirmed Monday that a New Zealand nurse has been taken prisoner by the Islamic State team in Syria for nearly six years, the information is always kept because of fear his life can be dangerous.
Nurse and midwife status Louisa Akavi, now 62, is unknown, but her employer, the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that it has received recent reports of witnesses indicating that he may be alive.
The New York Times on Sunday became the first media organization to name Akavi, which ended more than 5½ years of red tape that was imposed by the New Zealand government and the Red Cross in collaboration with international media.
The collapse of the Islamic State group raised the hope that Akavi and two Syrian drivers In a statement, the ICRC said that in recent December, Akavi could have seen at least two people at a clinic in Sousa, one of the Islamic & # 39; s last outposts. There were reported sightings in 201
"We continue to work together (including the Red Cross) to find and retrieve her," says Foreign Minister of New Zealand Winston Peters. "It is a very difficult and difficult case." Louisa went to Syria with the ICRC to deliver humanitarian aid to people suffering from a brutal civil war and ISIS work. "
" If where a New Zealander was run by a terrorist organization, the government took all the necessary actions to recover them. "Peters
Peters said that New Zealand sent a small multi-agency team, including special forces, to Iraq to gather information on Akavi.
" It includes member of the New Zealand Defense Force, taken from the Special Operations Force, and staff visited Syria from time to time as needed, "he said." This non-combat group is particularly focused on searching for Louisa and identifying opportunities to recover him. "
Akavi was captured in 2013 in the Idlib city of northwestern Syria. It believes he is offered for redemption and can be used as a shield the New Zealand government believes at one point that he may die. But there are hopes that his medical skills can cause his servants to conserve him.
The Akavi family told us that They make him and boast of the work he has set in his life.
"We are thinking about him every day and hope he feels it and finds strength in that," says a video statement provided by the family spokesperson Tuaine Robati. "We know he's thinking of us and he's worried about us too."
The New Zealand government has reportedly opposed the decision of the ICRC to allow The New York Times to report the name and nationality of Akavi.
a news conference Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused to answer questions about Akavi but indicated that he had failed the ICRC to be lost to the public before his fate had been learned.
"Forgive me, I hope, for not commenting on the case," said Ardern. "The government's view remains better if the case is not in the public domain."
Dominik Stillhart, director of operations for ICRC, said the organization has decided to allow the publication in the hope of acquiring new information about his whereabouts.
"We have not been able to speak to the public right now because once Louisa and others were kidnapped, every decision we made was to maximize the chances of winning their independence," said Stillhart statement. "In the absence of the late State Territory of Islam, we felt that it was time to speak."
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He said the collapse of the Islamic State group in Syria could mean new opportunities to learn more about the Akavi situation and the ICRC was also scared to lose its loss in the succession of the destruction of IS.
Akavi comes from cooking the Cook Islands and lives in Otaki, a small town north of Wellington. He is the oldest captive in the history of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and He called him "a true and compassionate human being."
He said the intense effort was made to protect his liberation. Negotiations in 2013 and 2014 were unsuccessful. In 2014, he was included in a group of hostages transferred by IS only hours prior to an attack by U.S. special forces. which aims to free them.
"We call on anyone with information to please forward," Stillhart said. "If our colleagues are still held, we call out their immediate and unconditional release."
Stillhart later defended the decision of the ICRC to publicize Akavi's case after years of silence
"Every decision is to avail the opportunity of Louisa's freedom … and every decision has been in contact with the New Zealand government, "said Stillhart at a news conference in Geneva. "It includes the difficult decision to go public. We think of new information from the public, we can redirect the investigation to Louisa."