A faction of the Boko Haram on Saturday evening allegedly attacked facilities of United Nations (UN) and a Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO), when they(bandits) launched attack at Damasak, a border community of Borno State.
Penpushing reports that, security sources and witnesses said the faction suspected to be members of Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP),an arm of Boko Haram, also expended their deadly attack to a police station and a hospital
“It was a bad situation we had on Saturday when the Boko Haram gunmen stormed Damasak later Saturday afternoon. The attackers came in large numbers riding on motorcycles and many gun trucks. They attacked an area around the UN hub, setting it on fire. They also slaughtered two persons and we later discovered that two Special Forces soldiers also died, the source said”
Penpushing further reports that a local security personnel who pleaded anonymity said majority of the United Nations (UN) and the Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) officials escaped into the bunker at the United Nations(UN) hub the insurgents set fire on virtually all the offices and warehouses of the Non-Governmental Organisation.
“Yes, they set fire on the UN hub, the GISCOR office as well as INTERSOS, NRC offices before carting away their vehicles. The insurgents went to the General Hospital in Damasak and looted drugs and related medical facilities, but one of their commanders prevented them from setting fire on the hospital because there were patients in the wards.”
Penpushing also reports that, the gunmen took time to take away the hospital ambulance and some other vehicles belonging to some of the Non-Governmental Organisations, while police took to their heels sighting the insurgents advancing toward the station
The source in Damasak, however, explained that the fire that affected part of the United Nations (UN) humanitarian hub was as a result of the escalation of the fire set on the warehouse of an Non-Governmental Organisation,known as ACTED.
Penpushing reports that, some residents who spoke on the ugly development said a military jet that came to salvage the situation dropped a bomb that landed in a compound where civilians were holding a naming ceremony.
The residents said the bomb exploded and killed many women and children, but as at the time of filing this report, the authenticity of the claims of the residents was yet to be established, while it also on record that the attack on United Nations(UN) hub is the second of its kind in five weeks.
Penpushing further reports that the insurgents on March 1, attacked a United Nations(UN) hub in Dikwa town of Borno State, setting ablaze several vehicles after dislodging a military base.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian in reaction confirmed the attack in a statement issued by the Humanitarian Coordinator and head of the mission in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.
“Deeply concerned about recurrent reports of violent attacks by non-state armed groups putting the lives of civilians under risks. Last night and through the morning, a violent attack in Damasak town, in Borno State, was reported with three international aid partners’ facilities directly targeted, set ablaze, and sustained damage. I continue to be concerned about the safety and security of civilians and humanitarian workers’,he said.
Penpushing reports that Kallon condemned the attack on humanitarian aid operations and facilities that are the “lifeline for people affected by violence and conflict in north-east Nigeria who are dependent on assistance to survive.”
The coordinator said following the violent attack humanitarian operations in Damasak will be reduced, adding that this will “affect the support to 8,800 internally displaced people and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection there.”
“Civilians and aid workers, their facilities and assets should never be a target. They must always be protected and respected. I call on armed parties to observe and commit to international humanitarian law and human rights law, and ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian property, and personnel.”
Penpushing further reports that, he appealed to donors and stakeholders for support in funding the nine humanitarian hubs and to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) which are “vital enablers of the humanitarian operations in north-east Nigeria.
“I also appeal to donors to urgently continue their support for the Humanitarian Response Plan for northeast Nigeria to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support to some 6.4 million displaced people and host communities affected by the humanitarian crisis there.”
Meanwhile, the military authorities in the country, also on its part has not react or issue any statement on the worrisome situation as at the time of filing this report on Sunday.
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