The United Nations (UN) wednesday expressed worries over the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks in the North-east.
This is coming as the ‘Operation Wild Stroke’ of the Nigerian Army operating in Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba States has said it has killed 17 bandits and arrested 67 others in the last eight months.
Also hundreds of thousands of travellers were in the early hours of yesterday stranded as soldiers blocked all major highways in and out of Yobe and Borno States.
The UN said since the resurgence of the attacks in November 2018, about 260 aid workers have been withdrawn, lamenting that this has affected their humanitarian service delivery in the troubled region.
A statement signed by the spokesperson of the UN in Nigeria, Samantha Newport, said, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has expressed grave concern following an upsurge in violence in the country’s North-east, which has caused tens of thousands of innocent civilians to flee their homes.
The statement read that: “Clashes on December 26, 2018 between Nigerian Government forces and non-state armed groups in Baga town, on the shores of Lake Chad about 200 kilometres north of state capital, Maiduguri, triggered the massive displacement, with most women, men and children converging on already congested camps or sites for internally displaced people in Maiduguri or Monguno town.
“A subsequent attempted attack on Monguno on December 28, 2018 has exacerbated the situation, generating further displacement amid the uncertainty caused by the clashes.”
Newport quoting Kallon, who was said to have visited Monguno and Teachers Village camp for internally displaced people in Maiduguri, said: “The impact of the recent fighting on innocent civilians is devastating and has created a humanitarian tragedy.”
Kallon also said: “It is heart-wrenching to see so many of these people living in congested camps, or sleeping outside with no shelter. Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict and the United Nations is extremely concerned about the impact that violence in North-east Nigeria, especially in Borno State, is having on civilians.”
The statement said: “More than 30,000 internally displaced people have arrived in Maiduguri, mainly from Baga, in recent weeks. The majority of these people have arrived since December 20, 2018, often after arduous journeys with young children. This includes an estimated 20,000 internally displaced people who have arrived in Teachers Village camp in Maiduguri, stretching the camp’s capacity beyond the limit.
“It is still unclear how many people are taking refuge in Monguno, but tens of thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, notably shelter, food, water and sanitation.
The statement revealed that: “Some 260 aid workers have been withdrawn from three Local Government Areas – Monguno, Kala/Balge and Kukawa, which are affected by the conflict since November, affecting the delivery of humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of people.”
It noted that: “This is the largest withdrawal of aid workers since the international humanitarian response scaled up in 2016. While aid workers have started to return to some areas to respond to the urgent, life-saving needs, the lack of a secure operating environment is preventing a return to normal humanitarian activities.”
“This is not true. What is happening is an ongoing clearance and snap checks operations in the general area required to clear suspected Boko Haram terrorists along that road.
“The clearance operation is ultimately for the safety and security of motorists and other road users.
“Members of the public are please advised to cooperate and bear with the troops as they carry out these duties.”