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Aid agency, Mercy Corps suspends operations in Northeast
ON Wednesday International aid agency, Mercy Corps announced a suspension of its operations in Borno and Yobe States following the closure of four of its field offices by the Nigerian Army.
This development is coming six days after the army closed Action Against Hunger’s office in Borno after accusing the agency of aiding terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province.
“Mercy Corps is suspending operations in Borno and Yobe States, Nigeria, following the closure of four of our field offices by the Nigerian military,” Amy Fairbairn, Mercy Corps head of media and communications, said in a statement on its website.
The conflict in northeastern Nigeria which has lasted for over a decade has led to the death of over 30,000 people and forced two million to leave their homes, Reuters reports.
“We have not yet received an official reason from the Nigerian authorities for the closure and we are seeking to work with them to resolve this as soon as possible,” she said.
Adding, that Mercy Corps’ work in other parts of Nigeria would not be disrupted by the temporary setback but would continue uninterrupted.
However, the Reuters reports that unnamed sources at the aid agency and the military confirmed that the army closed down Mercy Corps offices after troops said they allegedly found N29 million in cash being transported to Borno State by a driver who stated the money belonged to Mercy Corps.
The Nigerian Army recently launched Operation Positive Identification an initiative it hopes to use to identify and fish out fleeing insurgents hiding in towns and villages of Borno and Yobe States.
The move is to verify means of identification such as National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Drivers’ License and Passports or other valid official identification before granting such person passage.