Apr 15, 2019

Red Cross calls for release of nurse kidnapped by ISIS in Syria

Louisa Akavi is a New Zealand Red Cross Nurse who was kidnapped in October 2013.

Louisa Akavi, 62, a nurse and midwife, who was kidnapped by ISIS in 2013. Photo: Ross Land/Getty Images

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday called for the release of New Zealand nurse Louisa Akavi, kidnapped by the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria in 2013.

"She has dedicated her life to those affected by war and violence, and she went to Syria because people needed her. She wanted to use her skills to make a difference."
ā€” New Zealand Red Cross Secretary-General Niamh Lawless

The big picture: The New Zealand government and Red Cross kept the kidnapping of Akavi, 62, secret because of concerns that her life might be at risk. The New York Times first reported Sunday that since the Islamic State has fallen, the Red Cross has made Akavi's name public in hopes to find her alive.

The other side: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear at a press conference the government did not think the media blackout should have been lifted. She declined to comment further on the issue.

Go deeper