UN Suspends Operations In Dikwa, Damasak After Boko Haram Attacks, Relocates Staff - IReporteronline
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UN Suspends Operations In Dikwa, Damasak After Boko Haram Attacks, Relocates Staff

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he United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, on Saturday announced the suspension of humanitarian operations in Dikwa and Damasak towns in Borno State due to the gruesome Boko Haram attacks which also saw the destruction of UN property and offices.

Kallon, in a release, said UN and other aid workers have also been relocated from the crisis areas, as the humanitarian community continues to monitor the situation with many people in dire need of life-saving assistance.

The UN Chief said, “I am deeply concerned about the recent attacks on humanitarian operations in Dikwa and Damasak, affecting humanitarian assets and personnel. We have temporarily suspended operations in these areas in order to safely relocate humanitarian staff and are closely monitoring the situation. We intend to resume operations as soon as possible so that civilians affected by the conflict continue to receive the assistance they need.

“I condemn in the strongest terms attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure which may constitute violations on International Humanitarian Law.”

Damasak has been in turmoil since last week with the Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province fighters attacking the town about five times in one week.

Last Friday, the Boko Haram fighters had destroyed highly-priced items belonging to the UN, after burning UN buildings, two other humanitarian hubs and forcing aid workers to flee for their lives.

UN officials had told SaharaReporters on Monday that all the humanitarian workers in Damasak had been relocated to other places as a result of the attack, although all of them “were accounted for” after the onslaught.

“From the UN side, what the Boko Haram fighters burnt were our critical aid assets including offices, warehouses and humanitarian storage facilities. The fighters also burnt UN operational vehicles before attacking the other two neighbouring buildings belonging to some other organisations. I cannot verify their identity at the moment. All our aid workers were accounted for, and temporarily relocated. This means there will be a reduction of humanitarian footprints in Damasak,” the official had explained.

“The operations will be reduced to only critical assistance to affected communities. So we’re not totally suspending operations in Damasak,” he added.

SaharaReporters had last Saturday reported that the terrorists, aided by their deadlier Islamic State West African Province fighters, set fire to the UN office and to at least three other international charity organisations contiguous to the UN facility.

“The terrorists came into the town in gun trucks. They first embarked on a looting spree. They carted away aid supplies meant for the Internally Displaced Persons before they set fire to the UN hub in the town and three other buildings belonging to other aid organisations,” a source in the town had narrated.

A military source confirmed the Saturday attack on Damasak but said the troops were fighting hard to ensure that the terrorists did not overrun the town.

“Their plan was to attack the military base first, but we repelled the invasion. Pockets of them then went to the UN facility. The Nigerian Air Force aircraft have been called in and they are currently engaging in air interdictions on the terrorists,” he stated.

On March 1, ISWAP jihadists overran a UN hub in Dikwa, killing six civilians and forcing aid workers to temporarily retreat from the town despite urgent humanitarian needs.

On March 15, the fighters had attacked Damasak, the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno.

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JUST IN: 15 Die In Niger Boat Mishap

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At least, 15 people have died in a boat mishap in Tijana, Munya Local Government Area of Niger State while several others are still missing.

The boat mishap occurred at about 6:00 pm on Saturday when the villagers were returning from a local market in Zumba, Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.

The Sarkin Kasuwan (Head of the Market) of Zumba, Mallam Adamu Ahmed, who confirmed the incident to Daily Trust, said the local boat was carrying over 60 people, including women and children when it capsized due to a heavy windstorm.

Among the victims were some returnees who had earlier fled their homes with their children due to bandits’ attacks.

Ahmed said 17 people have been rescued alive through the efforts of local divers who swung into action immediately after the incident was reported.

The local divers had defied the heavy downpour to continue their rescue operation as at the time of filing this reports as no help yet from the government.

It could be recalled that a similar boat mishap in the area claimed 13 lives in 2017 when a boat carrying 30 people capsized midway into their journey to the same Zumba market.

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BREAKING: Abducted ABSU Student Regains Freedom

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The only student of Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, still left in the custody of a criminal gang, which abducted some persons while journeying along the Okigwe-Uturu Road, has been released.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made this known this evening via his official Twitter handle@GovernorIkpeazu.

Governor Ikpeazu, who thanked God, security agencies and the management of ABSU for the release of the abducted student, expressed joy at the development and vowed that he will surely take justice to those involved in the kidnap and will not share the State with criminal elements.

His full tweet reads:

“It is with exceedingly great joy and a very pleasant sense of relief that I announce that the only kidnapped ABSU student who was still in the custody of the hoodlums that abducted some people a few days ago along the Okigwe-Uturu Road has been freed. I spoke with her and …her mother minutes ago and want to thank God, our security agents and the management of ABSU for a job well done leading to this good news.

“Our administration has since taken measures to strengthen the security around the area where the incident happened and even beyond it ensure the security of lives and property which remains my number one assignment as Governor and it is one duty I will never take lightly. We will surely take justice to those who abducted our student as we will not cohabit this state with criminals”.

DAILY POST gathered that the yet-to-be-confirmed number of students were kidnapped while transiting on a bus on Okigwe-Uturu Road.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the Abia State University, Professor O. M Ogbulu confirmed that two of the students escaped from the hoodlums while one student was still being held by them.

Addressing journalists in a press conference held in Umuahia, on Friday, Vice-Chancellor had assured that the school authority was working assiduously with security agencies to ensure the release of the students and prosecution of the culprits.

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Kogi Miyetti Allah Chairman Damina Regains Freedom

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The Chairman of the Kogi Chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Wakili Damina, who was allegedly kidnapped on Tuesday, has been released.

The state Secretary of the association, Mr Adamu Abubakar told newsmen in Lokoja on Saturday that Damina was released in Abuja late night of May 7.

Adamu said from Damina’s account, he was released by men suspected to be from one of the security agencies and not kidnappers as earlier suspected.

He said that Damina arrived at his Chikara home in the Kogi Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Saturday to reunite with his family.

Adamu had announced to newsmen in Lokoja on May 4, that Damina was taken away from his house by eight men dressed in military camouflage.

He said that the men forcefully took him away in a white bus.

He also said that all efforts to get across to him proved abortive as his telephone lines were switched off.

However, the secretary, said that the national body of the association had taken the matter up to ascertain why Damina whisked away in such a manner.

He also said that the group had instructed a lawyer to take the matter up.

Adamu then expressed the gratitude of the association to the state government, police, media and members of the public for their support and concern during the period.

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