Seven killed, UN facilities burnt, vehicles stolen as Boko Haram raid Borno
Charles Nwoke, Maiduguri, Nigeria
April 12, 2021
Image courtesy of local sources, fair use.
No fewer than four persons including army officers were killed on Saturday evening as suspected members of Islamic State West African Province, ISWAP, a faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group, attacked Damasak, a border community in Borno State.
Security sources and eyewitnesses said information trickled in late Saturday night that the border community was under a serious attack.
Security sources revealed that the attack was mostly targeted at the UN and NGO facilities in Damasak. Also attacked were police station and a hospital.
A local security source who pleaded anonymity, said, “It was a bad situation we had on Saturday when the Boko Haram gunmen stormed Damasak later Saturday afternoon.
“The attackers came in large numbers riding on motorcycles and many gun trucks. They attacked an area around the UN hub, setting it on fire.
“They also slaughtered two persons and we later discovered that two special forces soldiers also died.”
Another source disclosed that while most of the UN and other NGO staff were able to move into the bunker at the UN facility, the terrorists set fire on almost every NGO office and warehouse.
“Yes, they set fire on the UN hub, the GISCOR office as well as INTERSOS, NRC offices before carting away their vehicles.
“The insurgents went to the General Hospital in Damasak and looted drugs and related medical facilities, but one of their commanders prevented them from setting fire on the hospital because there were patients in the wards.”
It was gathered that the Damasak police station was razed down as the “police took to their heels upon sighting the insurgents advancing toward the station.”
“The fire that affected part of the UN humanitarian hub was as a result of the escalation of the fire set on the warehouse of an NGO called ACTED,” a source stated.
He said the attackers left Damasak with a hospital ambulance and some other vehicles belonging to some of the NGOs.
Inhabitants of the area equally said that a military jet that came to salvage the situation dropped an explosive that landed in a compound where civilians were hosting a naming ceremony. The bomb exploded and killed many women and children, they said.
The attack on the UN hub is the second of its kind in five weeks.
The insurgents attacked a UN facility on the 1st of March in Dikwa town of Borno State, where they set ablaze several vehicles after dislodging a military camp.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has confirmed the attack on its facility in Damasak, Borno State, on Saturday.
Humanitarian Coordinator and head of the UN mission in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, confirmed the incident in a statement while speaking to newsmen.
Mr. Kallon said he was “deeply concerned about recurrent reports of violent attacks by non-state armed groups putting the lives of civilians under risks.
“Last night and through the morning, a violent attack in Damasak town, in Borno State, was reported with three international aid partners’ facilities directly targeted, set ablaze, and sustained damage.
“I continue to be concerned about the safety and security of civilians and humanitarian workers.
The top UN official strongly condemned the attack on humanitarian aid operations and facilities that are the “lifeline for people affected by violence and conflict in north-east Nigeria who are dependent on assistance to survive.”
He said humanitarian operations in Damasak to be reduced due to the violent attack.
This, he said, will “affect the support to 8,800 internally displaced people and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection there.”
“Civilians and aid workers, their facilities and assets should never be a target. They must always be protected and respected. I call on armed parties to observe and commit to international humanitarian law and human rights law, and ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian property, and personnel,” said Mr. Kallon.
Nine humanitarian hubs and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which are “vital enablers of the humanitarian operations in northeast Nigeria.
“I also appeal to donors to urgently continue their support for the Humanitarian Response Plan for northeast Nigeria to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support to some 6.4 million displaced people and host communities affected by the humanitarian crisis there.”
A police source, who pleaded anonymity, said it happened at about 5:00 pm on Saturday.
“The insurgents penetrated the town through waterside of Geidam Chuku exit.”
While the terrorists were engaging the troops of 145 Battalion at their camp, some of them were burning an NGO’S warehouse near the HUB, the residence of Lawan Ali Asaga near the police station.
“They burnt the NRC resident at Fulatari ward as well as some vehicles.
“While withdrawing, they carted away an unspecified number of NGO vehicles and other civilian vehicles.
“They also looted food items worth millions of naira,” the source said.
“Meanwhile, as the result of the incident, two women and a man lost their lives and three of our troops were injured alongside many civilians that sustain different injures.”