The Nigerian army has explained why some soldiers invaded a UN humanitarian camp in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, on Friday.
According to an advisory to UN staff in the state, soldiers besieged the UN property at 2am to carry out a cordon and search operation.
The UN said the soldiers forced their way into the building.
“At about 2am early this morning, Nigeria army troops in trucks are conducting cordon and search on UN red roof humanitarian camp and forced their way into the property,” the UN said in an advisory note to staff.
“Presently conducting searches on the property, radio room is not functional at the moment. We cannot at this point ascertain the security situation, or implications but you shall be updated on development. Having consulted the ASC, all UN staff in Maiduguri are to work from home today and expect updates.”
But in a statement issued by Kingsley Samuel, a lieutenant colonel, the army said it carried out a search on the property because it had credible intelligence that some Boko Haram insurgents had infiltrated the area.
Samuel said there was no sign to show that the property was a UN building, but that no arrest was made there.
“As part of ongoing counter insurgency operations, the theatre command Operation Lafiya Dole has been conducting several clearance as well as cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the theatre. The clearance operations effort has been yielding several successes,” he said in a statement.
“It has forced the Boko Haram terrorists (BHTs) to change tactics and resort to employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace. This necessitated the need to intensify cordon and search in Maiduguri metropolis and environment.
“In the last one week cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana amongst several other areas. On 10th August 2017, theatre command received information from one of its credible sources that some high value BHT suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bye-Pass.
“It, therefore, became expedient to take pre-emptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operations. The operation was successfully conducted as over 30 houses were searched. One of such included a property which was said to be occupied by United Nations staff, although the property did not carry a UN designation. On the whole, operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found.”