Boko Haram: UN Aid Workers Lose Their Lives To Insurgency

On 1 March, the Boko Haram terrorist group launched another attack on a military base and an internally displaced people’s camp. Four UN aid workers were killed, one was injured, and another is reported missing. The attack took place in the town of Rann in the Kala Balge Local Government Area in Borno state, North-East Nigeria. The new waves of attacks seem to have increased in frequency and resulted in heightened tensions in the region.

The victims of the attack were aid workers attached to the internally displaced people’s camp nearby, which houses about 55,000 people displaced by the conflict. Two of the aid workers were from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and one was a medical consultant.

According to Samantha Newport, Head of Communications for UNICEF, “four aid workers were killed, one aid worker was injured and one aid worker is missing, feared abducted.”

The injured and missing were women and all the casualties were Nigerians, she added. It was reported that the insurgents, moving on gun trucks and motorcycles, infiltrated the town and attacked the military base before moving on to the camp. This attack is coming on the heels of a recent attack on Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state, where about 110 school girls were kidnapped by the terrorist organization.

Different groups and individuals have condemned the Thursday night attack. Among them is the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, who said “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 the authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

In a statement released to the press, the UN said, “The north-eastern region of the country has come under severe attacks in the past years and the region has one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.”

They added that the crisis has displaced millions of people and some of them currently are camped in Rann and are supported by humanitarian assistance from the United Nations and some of its affiliates. According to them, the United Nations is working across the North-Eastern region of Nigeria, providing 6.1 million people with food, shelter and medicine among other things.

The European Union and the United States have also condemned the attack on the aid workers. The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, called the attack “a grave violation of all humanitarian principles.” The U.S. Embassy said “The United States remains firmly committed to ensuring humanitarian workers are protected and able to do their life-saving work.”

Nigeria and other countries along the Lake Chad Basin have continued to come under severe attack from Boko Haram, although Nigeria has been the worst hit by the insurgency which have claimed more than 20,000 civilian lives and millions displaced across the country. This is the time for the Nigerian government to step up its effort at stamping out insurgency finally in the country and to make sure that the deadly sect find it difficult to attack soft targets who are the victims.