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UN condemns Boko Haram attack on Damasak, damage to aid helicopter
THE United Nations (UN) has condemned the Boko Haram attack in Damasak, Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State on Thursday where two people including a five-year-old child were killed.
Edward Kallon, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement made available to The ICIR on Saturday decried the July 2 attack, where a humanitarian helicopter also suffered damages.
“I am gravely concerned by reports of another violent attack by non-state armed groups in Damasak,
Borno State, on 2 July, in which at least two innocent civilians lost their lives, including a five-year
old child. Several others were injured, and a humanitarian helicopter was hit, sustaining serious
damage,” Kallon said in the statement.
“I strongly condemn any attack against civilians, humanitarian assets or aid workers and call on all armed parties to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian property and personnel.
“I furthermore call on all parties to allow and facilitate safe and unimpeded access for humanitarians to deliver life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people in the north-east.”
He also extended his condolences to families of the civilians who lost their lives in the attack and wish a prompt recovery to those injured.
The UN official confirmed that while a UN Humanitarian Air Service helicopter was hit by bullets during the attack, no aid workers were on board at the time, just as he commended the crew for piloting the chopper to safety during the attack
“I deplore that a UN Humanitarian Air Service helicopter was hit by bullets during the attack. No aid workers were on board at the time and crew members are all safe.
“My thoughts are also with the crew and I commend them for piloting the chopper back to safety during this critical situation,” he stated
Kallon lamented that the attack and damage to the helicopter severely affected the ability of aid actors to provide urgently needed assistance to vulnerable people in remote areas across Borno State.
“The UN Humanitarian Air Service is essential to evacuate wounded civilians and remains the backbone to facilitating humanitarian access, thereby enabling UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to safely and securely reach the most vulnerable populations,” he said.
“In 2019, UNHAS transported 66,271 passengers and 147 megatons of humanitarian assistance, as well as conducted 30 medical and 70 security evacuations.”
He further stated that insecurity and violent attacks have continuee to hamper the ability of people to access basic services or livelihoods and recover from the protracted crisis in North-east Nigeria.
“The United Nations and NGO partners are working to bring life-saving assistance to 7.8 million people in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, many of them in remote areas.”
According to him, Nigeria’s Government commitment to investigate the attack and swiftly bring to justice the perpetrators is a welcome development.
He, however, called on the Nigerian authorities to reinforce the safety and security of all humanitarian workers in the North east.