The Boko Haram fighters destroyed highly priced items belonging to the United Nations in their latest onslaught on Damasak town in Borno State, according to an inventory revealed to SaharaReporters.
The terrorists had in a fresh wave of attacks invaded Damasak on Saturday, setting fire this time to UN buildings, two other humanitarian hubs and forcing aid workers to flee for their lives.
UN officials told SaharaReporters that all the humanitarian workers in Damasak have 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 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 on 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.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, had on Sunday condemned the attack by Boko Haram militants on humanitarian aid workers in Damasak, saying operations in the town will be reduced due to the violent attack.
Kallon had called on armed parties to ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian property, and personnel while urging donors and stakeholders to continue their life-saving and life-sustaining support to the 6.4 million displaced people in the North-East.