(AFP) WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand revealed Monday that it had dispatched a special forces unit to Syria to search for nurse Louisa Akavi who was abducted by the Islamic State group more than five years ago.
Details of the kidnapping had been kept under wraps until the International Committee of the Red Cross appealed on Sunday for news about 62-year-old Akavi and two Syrian drivers kidnapped with her in October 2013.
They were in a Red Cross convoy delivering supplies to medical facilities in Idlib, northwest Syria, when armed men stopped the vehicles and abducted seven people.
“This has involved members of the NZDF (New Zealand defense force) drawn from the Special Operations Force, and personnel have visited Syria from time to time as required,” Peters said.
“This non-combat team was specifically focused on locating Louisa and identifying opportunities to recover her.”