The United Kingdom and the United States of America have warned that the Boko Haram terrorist group is planning to kidnap foreigners who are rendering humanitarian services in the North East region of Nigeria.
According to the warning by the UK Foreign Office in London, there were reports that the Islamist militants were “actively planning” to seize foreign workers in the Bama local government area of Borno state.
And the US embassy in Abuja in a message to its nationals confirmed that the report was “credible”.
Both said in a travel advice that the affected area was “along the Banki-Kumshe axis”, which is near the border with Cameroon.
This warning is coming amidst assurances by the Nigerian military that there is no resurgence in the camp of the Boko Haram, explaining that there has been a change of strategy in order to effectively wipe out the terrorists.
Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of women and children, including more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno town of Chibok in 2014.
However, abduction of foreigners by the terrorist group has been rare, the major case being in 2013 when a Boko Haram splinter group, Ansaru, abducted and murdered some foreign workers including an Italian, a Briton, a German, Greek, Lebanese and Syrians.
Leader of Ansaru, Khalid al-Barnawi, has been captured and is currently standing trial on charges of murder and abduction.
At present, international aid workers account for the majority of foreign nationals in North East Nigeria, mostly based in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
More than 2 million people are currently faced with starvation in the region as a result of the insurgency which has prevented the residents from going to their farms and growing food.
Humanitarian agencies operating in Maiduguri include the World Food Programme, WFP, International Organization for Migration and other UN bodies.