The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kalon has reacted to the attack on aid workers in Northern Borno. Country Director of Action Against Hunger, Shashwat Saraf had earlier said that a vehicle belonging to the organisation was ambushed by an Armed Group 15 kilometres away from Damasak town, with some of the occupants reportedly abducted.
The UN Coordinator, Mr Kalon, in a statement issued on Friday, said he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the reports and is concerned about their safety.
“I am deeply disturbed by reports of an incident involving aid workers from International NGOs in northern Borno State.
As details are still coming in and information has yet to be confirmed, the humanitarian community in Nigeria is concerned about the safety of our ACF colleague, partners, and contractors involved in the attack against an aid convoy reported on 18 July on the Gubio-Damasak road.” The statement read.
The statement further added: “They devote their lives to helping vulnerable people and communities in an area heavily affected by violence.
I call on all who may have the influence to do everything they can to keep them unharmed and work towards their safe return.”
Mr Kalon pleaded with the public to refrain from sharing any unconfirmed information, as according to him, the spread of misinformation may put the concerned aid workers at risk and jeopardise their way back to safety.
“This attack occurs only a couple weeks before the ongoing crisis affecting the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe enter its tenth year. Today, 7.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance.
Violence, insecurity, and inaccessibility to remote areas of Borno State continue to hamper the response to urgent needs.
“These acts of violence affect the very individuals, families, and communities that we support, and deprive vulnerable people of vital services.
All parties should protect and facilitate the delivery of aid.
Despite constraints, the humanitarian community remains committed to doing its utmost to provide lifesaving assistance and help the people in north-east Nigeria rebuild their lives.” Kalon stated.