Armed ViolenceNews

Aid Workers Sheltered In Bunker During ISWAP Siege On UN Hub In Nigeria

A group of humanitarian workers and guests retreated to a fortified bunker after insurgents used explosives to breach the security of a United Nations Hub in Northeast Nigeria and then laid siege to the facility.

HumAngle has learned that the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents also engaged in a fierce battle with troops of the Army super camp located in Dikwa on March 1.

Dikwa, the old capital of the Bornu Kingdom, lies about 90 kilometres from Maiduguri, the current capital of Borno State.

The counter-insurgency operation Air Task Force scrambled several combat aircraft comprising gunship and jet to support the ground troops to repel the attack.

Another attack was launched by the insurgents on Tuesday morning. 

According to a source the insurgents attacked Dikwa on Monday through the direction of Marte. Nigerian troops recently advanced into Marte following an order by the Chief of Army Staff.

The attack on Monday highlights the risks faced by humanitarian workers assisting millions of displaced and vulnerable people in Northeast Nigeria. 

On June 13, 2020, ISWAP insurgents entered the garrison town of Monguno from two entry points and subsequently attacked the humanitarian hub, where the United Nations said over 50 aid workers were present at the time of the attack.

The compound sustained light damage and unexploded ordnance was found at the vicinity of the gate. Several vehicles belonging to the United Nations and international non-governmental organisations in front of the humanitarian hub were set ablaze.

The UN statement added that protective security measures deployed at the hub prevented any harm to the staff inside during the attack in Monguno. 

On Jan. 18, 2020, an entire section of the humanitarian hub in the town of Ngala, near the border to Cameroon was burned down during an attack

Five UN staff were reported to be staying in the compound at the time but escaped unharmed due to security measures in place.

In Jan. 2019, the International Organization for Migration was appalled following an attack in Rann town, Kala Balge local government area of Borno, that led to the death of four internally displaced persons and badly damaged an IOM Humanitarian Hub.

Three years ago on March 1, 2018, a UN humanitarian hub in Rann was similarly attacked by ISWAP killing three aid workers and leading to the abduction of three women. 

Two of the female aid workers, Hauwa Mohammed Liman and Saifura Hussaini Ahmed, Khorsa were subsequently killed by the group while the third, Alice Loksha, remains in captivity.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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