Suspected members of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) have attacked a convoy of aid workers in Borno State, killing one person and believed to have abducted six others.
A statement signed by Shashwat Saraf, Country Director of Action Against Hunger said on Thursday 18 July, 2019, a convoy of vehicles was attacked on the road to Damasak, Borno state, Nigeria.
The Country Director lamented that one of the drivers was killed, while one Action Against Hunger staff member, two of the drivers and three health workers are missing.
He said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these are colleagues dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the north east of Nigeria.
“We are very concerned and want to ensure that they are safe and can be reunited with their families.”
He said: “Action Against Hunger strives to ensure that millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in north east Nigeria receive the essential services required for their survival, especially women and children.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family of our driver and we extend our support to the family of our missing colleagues as well as others affected by this incident. We appeal to the media and the public to desist from circulating unverified information about the situation above.”
A statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria said his thoughts and that of the humanitarian community are with the victims and their families.
He said: “I am deeply disturbed by reports of an incident involving aid workers from International NGOs in northern Borno State. As details are still coming in and information has yet to be confirmed, the humanitarian community in Nigeria is concerned about the safety of our ACF colleague, partners and contractors involved in the attack against an aid convoy reported on 18 July on the Gubio-Damasak road.”
Kallon said: “They devote their lives to helping vulnerable people and communities in an area heavily affected by violence. I call on all who may have influence to do everything they can to keep them unharmed and work towards their safe return.”
He however said: “Out of respect and consideration for the families, the humanitarian community in Nigeria is also asking the general public, including the media, to refrain from sharing any unconfirmed information. The spread of misinformation may put the concerned aid workers at risk and jeopardize their way back to safety.”
He noted that: “This attack occurs only a couple weeks before the ongoing crisis affecting the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe enters its tenth year. Today, 7.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance. Violence, insecurity and inaccessibility to remote areas of Borno State continue to hamper the response to urgent needs.”
He lamented that: “These acts of violence affect the very individuals, families, and communities that we support, and deprive vulnerable people of vital services.”
He advised that: “All parties should protect and facilitate the delivery of aid.”
He said: “Despite constraints, the humanitarian community remains committed to do its utmost to provide lifesaving assistance and help the people in north-east Nigeria rebuild their lives.”