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Developing News: ISWAP Abducts International Aid Workers In Northeast Nigeria

Three aid workers working with some International humanitarian organisations were abducted alongside several others whose identities and affiliations are yet to be determined along the Maiduguri-Monguno road in Borno state, Nigeria.

Information about the date and circumstances around the incident remain sketchy. A source told HumAngle that the abduction occurred less than 48 hours after an earlier one on June 1, in which three staff of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and a soldier providing security for them were abducted by terrorists. Another account, however, says that the international aid workers were abducted this week.

Dozens of humanitarian workers continue to thread on dangerous terrain in the course of their official duties in the Northeast of Nigeria. Several of them have been abducted in the past by ISWAP. Among the abducted, they have suffered different fates with some getting released or being slain or being kept interminably in captivity.

Alice Ngaddah, a nurse with the UNICEF and Grace Taku, working for the ACF have been kept in captivity since March 2018 and July 2019 respectively.

The Maiduguri-Monguno and the Maiduguri-Gubio highways have constituted an easy trap for travellers in the territory. Steadily the insurgents have operated on the highways routinely without any challenge from state actors. Eyewitnesses report that the terrorists routinely mount checkpoints to screen travellers on those routes.

Some motorists who escaped the regular fate of other abductees recounted that they were thoroughly screened to identify their professional or religious affiliations. Those identified as affiliated with the government, western institutions or of Christian religious faith faced more daunting fate.

A driver who was allowed to go after some passengers in his commercial vehicle were abducted told HumAngle that the terrorists looked exactly like the military. “They were well kitted with gun trucks and empty vehicles to accommodate those they plan to abduct,” he reported.

“Only those that were seen as mere villagers, traders who are Muslims are allowed to go free,” said the driver who uses the Maiduguri-Monguno highway regularly.

On Wednesday, June 10, Boko Haram fighters ambushed travellers along the Maiduguri-Damboa highway reopened by the state for public use last January. The terrorists reportedly killed scores of the passengers.

Attempts by HumAngle to speak with state officials on the incidents proved abortive. However, an official with one of the humanitarian organisations in Maiduguri told HumAngle that they were still assessing the situation.

The officer, who did not want his name mentioned, warned that with the lockdown measures being relaxed the region was likely to witness a surge in abductions.


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Ahmad Salkida

Ahmad Salkida is a renowned investigative reporter with over 20 years experience in conflict and development reporting. He is regarded as one of the best knowledge experts on the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency. He has done groundbreaking reporting on the multiple conflict situations in the Lake Chad region, a territory overshadowed by terrorism and famine.

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