Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
No fewer than four UN aid workers were killed on Thursday night attack coordinated by Boko Haram insurgents at Rann community in Kala Balge Local Government area of Borno state.
A female aid worker was also missing while another one sustained injuries in the attack. Samantha Newport, Head of Communications, UNICEF Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), confirmed the incident on Friday in Maidguri.
Newport said that two of the deceased were personnel of UN client organisation, International Organisation of Migration (IOM), deployed to Rann as managers in the camp for 55,000 Internally Displaced Persons who fled their homes as a result of the ongoing insurgency in the area.
She added that others killed were a medical doctor working as consultant with UNICEF and an aid worker with International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) affiliate organisation.
The UNICEF communications head said a female nurse was abducted, while another female aid worker was injured in the attack. She explained that all the deceased personnel were Nigerians. It was learnt that the insurgents attacked the town at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Samantha added that the UN was concerned about other civilians who might have been injured or killed in the attack.
She noted that about 80,000 people, including 55,000 internally displaced persons were currently being supported with humanitarian assistance in Rann.
The insurgents, moving on gun trucks and motorcycles, infiltrated the town and attacked a military base and a displaced persons’ camp. Military authorities have yet to comment on the incident.
Meanwhile, Mr Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, has condemned the murder of the aid workers, stressing that “aid workers put their lives on the line every single day to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable women, children and men.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims and our brave colleagues and we call on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.’’
Kallon said about 7.7 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and 6.1 million targeted for humanitarian assistance due to the most severe humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in northeast and Lake Chad region. “Now in its ninth year, the crisis shows no sign of abating,’’ he added.
He noted that the UN and non-governmental humanitarian organisations were working in the northeast to provide aid, including food, safe water and medicine to some 6.1 million people in need.