The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has condemned the attack by non-state armed groups against the main humanitarian accommodation in Ngala, Borno, Northeast Nigeria.
Kallon expressed this in a statement issued by Ms Eve Sabbagh, Head of Public Information, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), on Monday in Abuja.
“I am outraged by the extremely violent attack on this key humanitarian facility where five United Nations staff were staying at the time of the incident.
“On the evening of Saturday 18 January, the humanitarian hub in Ngala was the direct target of a complex assault by heavily armed non-state armed groups operatives.
“An entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles UN agencies rely on for movement and aid delivery.
“Protective security measures deployed at the humanitarian hub prevented any harm to the staff who was in the facility.
“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, am relieved all staff is now safe and secure,” he said.
He said that aid workers were providing assistance to more than 55,000 people in the town of Ngala, near the border with Cameroon.
According to him, in 2019, over 10,000 people arrived in Ngala, searching for security and basic services.
He said that humanitarian hubs in Borno are critical to the humanitarian response.
He added that they provide operating environments for aid workers in remote locations where some of the most vulnerable people live or have sought refuge.
“Such incidents have a disastrous effect on the lives of the most vulnerable people who depend on our assistance to survive.
“Many of them had already fled violence in their area of origin and were hoping to find safety and assistance in Ngala.
“This also jeopardises the ability for aid workers to stay and deliver assistance to the people most in need in remote areas in Borno State,” the statement read in part.
Kallon urged all parties to the conflict to respect the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality which guide the assistance the humanitarian community delivers in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
He said that the UN and NGO partners in Nigeria are working to bring vital assistance to over 7 million people in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.