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Damasak Attacks Disrupt Delivery Of Lifesaving Aid To Displaced Persons

Norwegian Refugee Council and Action Against Hunger have complained about being unable to provide lifesaving aid because of continuous ISWAP attacks

Delivery of humanitarian aid in the garrison town of Damasak, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria has been put on hold after humanitarian compounds and stocks were destroyed, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said.

This followed incessant attacks on the town by members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). 

HumAngle reported on Tuesday, April 13, how the terror group laid siege on the town, with at least 10 casualties reported.

 The terrorists also attacked the town just days before the April 13 attack. Since April 10, there have been three attacks on Damasak, forcing locals to flee to the neighbouring Niger Republic. 

According to the NRC, aid organisations operating in Borno State have been left with no option but to suspend all operations after the attacks on their compounds, including that of the ‘Action Against Hunger.’  

Currently, around 8.7 million persons in the Northeast are in urgent need for humanitarian aid, due to the violence ravaging the region over the past decade. Yet, more than a million people can’t access the required assistance because of how aid workers have been cut off from accessing the populations.

“The violent attacks pushed an estimated 65,000 people from Damasak on the road. Thousands of families and elderly people in dire need, and largely dependent on humanitarian aid, are currently crossing the Yobe river towards Niger for safety,” NRC said.

 “NGO staff managed to hide and escape the town, but their private houses were set ablaze after house-to-house searches, demonstrating an unprecedented level of targeting of humanitarian workers.”

The NRC and Action Against Hunger have both called on the Nigerian government and other international donors to ensure safe passage for humanitarians in reaching those requiring aid.

Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary-General emphasised that a large number of men, women, and children would be left without any means of accessing lifesaving support.

“Governments cannot shy away from their responsibility to protect civilians. Our access and ability to safely support the millions of people in need is shrinking day by day, at a time when needs are reaching alarming levels,” Egeland said.  

“We condemn these horrific acts of violence. Although humanitarian organisations in northeast Nigeria have faced continuous threats and attacks for years, the worsening security situation has now reached a climax,” said Jean-François Riffaud, the Director-General of Action Against Hunger. 

“Our colleagues should be protected, in line with international humanitarian law.”  

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Hafsah Abubakar Matazu

Hafsah Abubakar Matazu is the current Programme Director at HumAngle. She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Mass Communication from Baze University Abuja. Prior to joining HumAngle, she worked for Abuja-based Daily Trust Newspapers as an investigative reporter. She leads the program team in planning and implementing grants as well as funded and non funded reporting projects. She tweets via @hafsahabubakar_

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