That secrecy finally ended on Monday when the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) chose to appeal for news of Akavi through the New York Times, after searches found no sign of her following the fall of the last Isis stronghold in the Iraqi town of Baghuz.
There is also the extraordinary stoicism of her family, who have had to wait, fearing the worst, knowing that paying a ransom for her release was not a possibility, and clinging to every flimsy thread of hope, such as reported sightings, for more than five years. New Zealand revealed Monday that it had dispatched a special forces unit to Syria to search for Louisa Akavi who was abducted by Daesh* some six years ago.
Based on "credible information" the ICRC believes Akavi was alive in late 2018.
Dominik Stillhart, ICRC director of operations, said it made a decision to permit publication of her name in the hope that it would lead to more information about Akavi's whereabouts.
"We have not spoken publicly before today because from the moment Louisa and the others were kidnapped, every decision we made was to maximise the chances of winning their freedom".
There are increased concerns for Ms Akavi's safety following the fall of the last territory held by Islamic State (IS) near the Iraqi border last month.More news: Trump to award Tiger Woods Presidential Medal of Freedom
The ICRC has been putting up its flag around the camps holding those who fled Isil territory.
Since 2014, New Zealand and some worldwide news organisations have held an agreement with the New Zealand government and the Red Cross to not make Akavi's abduction public, with fears it could make her situation worse.
He said the NZ Government agreed with the decision, and he was surprised by Ardern's comments about objecting to Akavi's name coming out. "It remains the government's view that it would be preferable if the case was not in the public domain".
"This has been a uniquely complex and hard case ..."
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed disappointment at the information released by the ICRC and refused to answer questions at her weekly press conference on Monday. "That is exactly what we have done here", Peters said. "Louisa went to Syria with the ICRC to deliver humanitarian relief to people suffering as a result of a brutal civil war and ISIS occupation". "Alaa and Nabil were committed colleagues and an integral part of our aid deliveries", said Stillhart, the group's director of operations.
"We are thus calling on anybody who has information on Louisa, Alaa and Nabil to urgently step forward and share this information with us." . "If our colleagues are still being held, we call for their immediate and unconditional release", he said.More news: Lori Loughlin and husband plead not guilty in college admissions case
The ICRC had never been able to obtain further details about Mr Rajab and Mr Bakdounes, it said, and their fate was unknown.
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. Four other people abducted with them were released the next day.
Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, Lebanon, said the ICRC is gathering information from those who used to live under ISIL's rule.
He said she was still not found despite a sighting of Akavi in December past year and the collapse of IS territories.
As proof-of-life the terror group provided personal information about Akavi including the number of her insurance policy, which the New York Times quotes her family as saying she kept with her on a card.
In a short video statement, family spokesman Tuaine Robati said they remained concerned for her but also spoke of their pride in her work.More news: DU comes up short in overtime at Frozen Four
The last credible information on her whereabouts, late past year, was that she had been in Al-Susah and Al-Bukamal, near the Iraqi border.