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Army shuts down NGO in north-east for ‘giving Boko Haram food’

Army shuts down NGO in north-east for ‘giving Boko Haram food’
September 20
09:01 2019
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Some soldiers on Thursday laid siege to the office of Action Against Hunger, an international non governmental organisation (NGO) in Damaturu, Yobe state capital.

An aide worker in the town who does not want to be named told TheCable they got a message earlier in the week that soldiers were coming after some NGOs operating in the north-east.

According to him, soldiers stormed the NGO’s office on Thursday, ordering the place to be shut down.

The source said they have always had issues with the military who accuse them of providing food and healthcare to Boko Haram insurgents.

“We got the message about this matter. We weren’t totally surprised seeing the soldiers this evening,” he said.

“Our job here is to provide humanitarian services to all involved. When we travel to the affected villages with drugs and food, the insurgents don’t attack us and the military always think we are working with them.

“No. It is international convention that we provide humanitarian services to all parties. If anyone is hungry, we give food. Those sick or wounded, we take care, as long as they are willing and are not bearing arms.”

He added that indeed, there have been occasions where they were stopped by the insurgents who were hungry and asked for food.

“See, there’s nothing like insurgents or enemy for us who provide humanitarian service. We won’t drive past a village where the people are hungry without providing relief,” he said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Action Against Hunger said its Maiduguri office was also closed by soldiers on Wednesday.

“This decision, without notice and without any explanation, jeopardizes the assistance Action Against Hunger provides to the most vulnerable people in Borno State and halts, with immediate effect, the assistance Action Against Hunger provides to millions of people in Maiduguri, Monguno, and Damasak,” the statement read.

“Action Against Hunger calls on the competent authorities to let us continue our work in the region.”

The organisation said it delivers neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian aid to millions of people in the area by providing basic services to the most vulnerable, especially women and children.

In May, the army accused NGOs of providing humanitarian support to the insurgents, warning that “it will not hesitate to sanction any such recalcitrant organisation as appropriate”.

 

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