UN Humanitarian Coordinator outraged at attack on key Nigerian aid hub

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria
Country: Nigeria

On 18 January, 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 was burned down.

ABUJA, 20 January – The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, strongly
condemns the attack by non-state armed groups against the main humanitarian accommodation
in Ngala, in the north-eastern State of Borno. “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,” stated the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Edward Kallon.

On the evening of Saturday 18 January, 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 was burned 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 prevented any
harm to the staff who was in the facility.

“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,” stressed the Humanitarian
Coordinator. “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.”

Aid workers are providing assistance to more than 55,000 people in the town of Ngala, near the
border with Cameroon. In 2019, over 10,000 people arrived in Ngala, searching for security and
basic services. Humanitarian hubs in Borno State are critical to the humanitarian response. They
provide operating environments for aid workers in remote locations where some of the most
vulnerable people live or have sought refuge.

“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 jeopardizes 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 United Nations and NGO partners in Nigeria are working to bring vital assistance to over
seven million people in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. They are
increasingly the target of attacks. Twelve aid workers lost their lives in 2019, which is twice the
number in the previous year. Two aid workers remain in the captivity of non-state armed groups
– ACF staff member Grace Taku abducted near Damasak in July 2019, and Alice Loksha, a nurse
and a mother, kidnapped during an attack in Rann in March 2018. The United Nations and its
humanitarian partners call for their immediate and safe release.

Pictures are available below and on https://ocha.smugmug.com/Countries/Nigeria2/Attack-on-Ngala-humanitarian-hub-18-January-2020/

For further information, please contact:
Eve SABBAGH, Head of Public Information, OCHA Nigeria, (+234) 9073430290, sabbaghe@un.org
Abiodun BANIRE, Public Information Officer, OCHA Nigeria, (+234) 7031718735, banire@un.org
OCHA press releases are available at unocha.org or reliefweb.int