Suspected Boko Haram terrorists have attacked a humanitarian hub in Ngala, Borno state; burning an entire section of the facility as well as a vehicle used in aid deliveries. The incident occurred on Saturday evening
Five United Nations (UN) staff were staying at the facility at the time of the attack. However, they managed to escape unharmed due to security measures in place.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, expressed shock at the incident. Further, he disclosed that aid workers must not be targeted by insurgents. He stated this in a press statement released on Monday.
“I am shocked by the violence and intensity of this attack; which is the latest of too many incidents directly targeting humanitarian actors and the assistance we provide. I am relieved all staff is now safe and secure. Aid workers, humanitarian facilities and assets cannot be a target and must be protected and respected at all times.”
In addition, Kallon noted that attacks against aid workers have a “disastrous effect” on the vulnerable people they support.
“Many of them had already fled violence in their area of origin and were hoping to find safety and assistance in Ngala. This also jeopardizes the ability for aid workers to stay and deliver assistance to the people most in need in remote areas in Borno State,” he said.
Boko Haram prosecuting over a decade long insurgency in Nigeria
Boko Haram has waged a decade long insurgency against the Nigerian government which has led to widespread displacement.
The UN disclosed that more than 10,000 people arrived in Ngala in 2019; searching for security and basic services. Overall, the UN affirms that it is assisting more than seven million people in three states affected by the crisis. Apart from Borno, they also are operational in neighbouring Adamawa and Yobe states.
Meanwhile, the UN has revealed that aid workers in Nigeria are increasingly being targeted in attacks. It noted that 12 were killed last year, which is double the number killed in 2018.
Nevertheless, it has continued to call for the safe release of two aid workers who remain in captivity. The aid workers were abducted in separate incidents in Borno state.
Grace Taku, a staff member with Action Against Hunger, was abducted alongside five male colleagues near Damasak in July 2019. The men were all killed.
The other aid worker, Alice Loksha, a nurse and mother, was kidnapped during an attack in Rann in March 2018.