Edward Kallon, United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, has reacted to the burning of the organisation’s facility in Ngala, Borno state, by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in a statement on Monday said the humanitarian hub in Ngala was the direct target of a complex assault by “heavily armed non-state armed groups operatives”.
An entire section of the facility, UNOCHA said, was burnt down as well as one of the few vehicles UN agencies rely on for movement and aid delivery.
Protective security measures deployed at the humanitarian hub, however, prevented any harm to the staff who was in the facility.
Reacting, Kallon said the attack is a discouragement for aid workers providing assistance to vulnerable people in the area.
“I am outraged by the extremely violent attack on this key humanitarian facility where five United Nations staff were staying at the time of the incident,” he said.
“I am shocked by the violence and intensity of this attack, which is the latest of too many incidents directly targeting humanitarian actors and the assistance we provide. I am relieved all staff is now safe and secure. Aid workers, humanitarian facilities and assets cannot be a target and must be protected and respected at all times.
“Such incidents have a disastrous effect on the lives of the most vulnerable people who depend on our assistance to survive. Many of them had already fled violence in their area of origin and were hoping to find safety and assistance in Ngala. This also jeopardises the ability for aid workers to stay and deliver assistance to the people most in need in remote areas in Borno State.
“I call on all parties to the conflict to respect the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality which guide the assistance the humanitarian community delivers in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.”
The UNOCHA said aid workers are providing assistance to more than 55,000 people in the town of Ngala, near the border with Cameroon, where over 10,000 people in 2019 arrived in search for security and basic services.