Louisa Akavi’s identity has been publicly revealed for the first time, in an attempt to secure her release.
The 62-year-old Akavi and two Syrian colleagues have been held hostage for longer than anyone in the history of the international aid organisation, which has been around for more than 150 years.
The fall of Isis’s last Syrian stronghold has effectively increased the risk of losing track of the Akavi. Someone, though, could come forward with information about her and colleagues Alaa Rajab and Nabil Bakdounes.
“We are speaking out to recognise Louisa’s, Alaa’s and Nabil’s hardship and suffering and to call for any information that could provide more leads into their whereabouts and wellbeing,” said ICRC director of operations Dominik Stillhart.
The last confirmed sighting of Akavi was reportedly late last year, near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
“This was incredible information to receive, apparent confirmation of her location, that she was still alive and that she was still doing what she is trained to do and has long done: providing medical care in a conflict zone,” added Stillhart.
“We tried to reach out to and influence the Isis leadership by speaking to sheiks in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We spoke to prisoners in the Middle East who might be able to guide us towards fresh information.”