Boko Haram Attacks Humanitarian Hub in Borno


Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The humanitarian hub in Ngala, a border town with Cameroon in Borno State, was last Saturday attacked by Boko Haram sect.

A worker with one of the United Nations agencies in Maiduguri said the hub was attacked at about 6:30p.m., adding that no casualty was recorded in the attack.

Meanwhile, most parts of Maiduguri have been declared high risk areas by UN agencies working in the North-east region.

A source said most of the agencies have recalled their staff members from towns in the troubled state outside the state capital, Maiduguri, saying humanitarian activities have not been canceled though in the towns.

He said: “Even in places where staff members are withdrawn, they (UN agencies) are providing assistance through third party and community-based agencies.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, had last Thursday complained that the security situations in Borno and Yobe State have degenerated and had become worrisome to the UN agencies and other actors in humanitarian activities in North-east region.

According to Kallon, “I am deeply relieved that some civilians, including three aid workers who were abducted by non-state armed groups on the Monguno-Maiduguri road on December 22, 2019, had been released on Wednesday and are now safe.

“The entire humanitarian community in Nigeria shares the joy of the families, friends and colleagues of these aid workers, who can now put to rest the unimaginable anxiety of missing their loved ones.”

“These dedicated humanitarians were working to provide life-saving support to millions of Nigeria’s most vulnerable in Borno State. They should never have been a target or have to endure the trauma of being held captive.”

He added that: “Despite this encouraging news, I am concerned about the fate of the other civilians abducted in this incident. I also remain gravely concerned for the lives of our ACF colleague, Grace Taku, who was abducted near Damasak in July 2019, and Alice Loksha, a nurse and a mother, abducted in an attack in Rann in March 2018. Both are still held captive by non-state armed groups. The UN and its humanitarian partners therefore call for their immediate and safe release.

“I am extremely worried by the increasingly insecure environment that humanitarians are working in to provide urgent and vital assistance to civilians affected by the crisis. The humanitarian community is troubled by the increased trend in vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes in Borno and Yobe States.

“These checkpoints expose civilians and humanitarians to heighten risks of being killed or abducted. I urge all parties in the conflict to protect the civilian population, including aid workers, from such grave violations of international laws, especially women and children who are among the most vulnerable and are caught up in the violence.”

He added: “A total of 12 aid workers have lost their lives in 2019. This is twice more than in 2018, which we thought was among the most dangerous years for humanitarian actors in Nigeria.”