Abducted girls released in northwest Nigeria, as fresh attacks rock country’s northeast

While the release of more than 200 girls abducted from their school on Friday in northwest Nigeria is a welcome development said senior UN officials there on Tuesday, civilians and aid facilities have come under attack in the country’s northeast, highlighting the plight of civilians who have suffered years of conflict and insecurity.

Edward Kallon, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, denounced the attack, in Dikwa, in restive Borno state, which started late on Monday (local time).

“As information is still coming through, I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze or sustained damage”, he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Stop the violence
“Civilians and aid workers, their facilities and assets should never be a target. They must be protected and respected at all times”, Mr. Kallon added, calling on all armed groups to immediately stop the violence.

The UN official also voiced deep concerns for the safety and security of thousands of residents of Dikwa, including internally displaced persons living inside and outside camps as well as those who had returned to the community to rebuild their lives after years in displacement.

The town of Dikwa, which is about 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the provincial capital Maiduguri, is a key transit location, serving as a gateway to Bama, Ngala, Mafa and Marte local government areas.

“The attack will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic risks spreading in Borno state”, he added.

Northern Nigeria has been in the grip of a Boko Haram extremist insurgency for over a decade, which has led to widespread displacement as well as skyrocketing levels of hunger and malnutrition.

Source: UN News