Nigeria

Mr Edward Kallon, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, statement on attack against civilians in Gubio, Borno

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I am outraged and incensed by incoming reports of violent incidents against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in Borno State, in which 81 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others wounded.

On the afternoon of 9 June, armed actors aboard motorcycles mounted a brutal attack on Felo community in Gubio Local Government Area, 80 kilometres away from the state capital Maiduguri. I am also receiving worrying reports that civilians were shot while trying to escape and that assailants set ablaze homes with civilians still inside as well as stole more than 1,000 heads of cattle.

I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the innocent people who lost their lives in this abhorrent act. They are mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who should never have been a target. My thoughts are with the countless members of this community whose homes and livestock were burned or stolen. I am also wishing a speedy recovery to the people who were injured.

This attack, the deadliest recorded in north-central Borno State since July 2019, has sent shockwaves across the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State.

I am gravely concerned by the level and number of violent attacks recorded in recent weeks. I am also troubled by the widespread practice by non-state armed groups of setting up illegal checkpoints along main supply routes, which heighten risks for civilians to be abducted, killed or injured. Aid workers are directly impacted and the humanitarian community is disturbed by the news of possible abductions, including that of a camp manager from the Borno State Emergency Management Agency working in the northern Borno State town of Monguno, where tens of thousands of civilians are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance.

I vehemently condemn any and all acts of violence against innocent civilians who have been bearing the brunt of this decade-long conflict for too long, as well as aid workers who are risking their lives to help them.

I call for the immediate and safe release of all aid workers and civilians who remain in captivity.

I firmly urge all actors on the ground to protect civilians and aid workers, and ensure the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable women, children and men, who desperately need relief, particularly at this crucial time when we are all scaling up efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 and HC statements are available at unocha.org or reliefweb.int

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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