Threat to aid workers in Nigeria remains serious

23 January 2020

On 18th January, an entire section of a humanitarian facility in Ngala town, was burned down. Ngala is around 124 km away from Borno state’s capital Maiduguri. It is reported that all humanitarian staff in the facility are safe, however, a few of the vehicles used by the humanitarians to deliver aid had also been burnt.

The facility was stormed by ‘heavily armed non-state armed groups’; IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Franz Celestin said that “The intended effect of this is to intimidate the humanitarian actors working in north-east Nigeria. We have seen this as humanitarian workers are increasingly targeted”.

Map of Nigeria’s 36 states, with Borno and Yobe in the most Northeasterly areas

The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations expressed their concerns stating that ‘the attack illustrates a worrisome deterioration of the security environment in which humanitarian organisations operate.’

Humanitarian aid worker’s capacity to carry out their job is diminishing as the number of non-armed group vehicle check points over the main routes in Borno and Yobe states is increasing. This negatively impacts the free movement of both civilians and humanitarian workers, hindering them from delivering aid.

Threat levels of civilian and aid worker abductions remains serious after civilians and three aid workers were abducted on 22nd December 2019. They were released on 15th January by the non-state armed groups, however, two female aid workers, who were abducted in March 2018 and July 2019, remain in captivity. Additionally, 12 aid workers lost their lives in Nigeria in 2019 which is double of the 2018 figure.

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