The United Nations has condemned the attack on humanitarian facilities in Damasak, a town in Borno State.
In a statement on Sunday, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, raised concern over the recurrent reports of violent attacks by non-state armed groups putting the lives of civilians at risk.
He stated that civilians and aid workers, as well as their facilities and assets, should never be a target for terrorist attacks.
The Nigerian Army had confirmed the attack which occurred on Saturday, although it said ground troops, supported by the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), thwarted it.
It said the troops engaged the terrorists with superior firepower – both from the air and on the ground – which compelled them to withdraw in disarray with several men and equipment casualties in the process.
Sadly, two soldiers died during the encounter while two others and an officer injured were taken to a military hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
In his reaction, Kallon stated that the attack, which he said lasted through the morning of the following day, targeted three international aid facilities.
He called for the safety and security of the people and aid workers, saying humanitarian operations and facilities were the lifelines for victims of violence and conflict in the North East.
The UN official said humanitarian operations in Damasak would be reduced as a result of the attack, adding that it would affect the support to 8,800 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection.
Read the full statement by Mr Kallon below:
STATEMENT ON THE ATTACK AGAINST AID FACILITIES IN DAMASAK
I am 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.
I strongly condemn the attack, as humanitarian aid operations and facilities are the lifelines for people affected by violence and conflict in north-east Nigeria who are dependent on assistance to survive.
Humanitarian operations in Damasak will be reduced due to the violent attack, which 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.
I also appeal to our generous donors and stakeholders for support in funding the nine humanitarian hubs and to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), as these 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 north-east Nigeria in order to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support to some 6.4 million displaced people and host communities affected by the humanitarian crisis there.