The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, has said that many civilians were killed during the Saturday attack on Monguno by members of ISWAP, a breakaway faction of Boko Haram.

Mr Kallon also said 37 others were injured while properties at a major UN facility were destroyed by the insurgents during the attack.

In a statement Sunday, the UN official said a four years old girl was among the slain victims.

“I am deeply saddened by the news that many civilians, including an innocent child, lost their lives in these horrific attacks,” Mr Kallon said.

Expressing his condolences and sympathies with the families of the victims and injured survivors, Mr Kallon said he was “appalled by the continued violent attacks launched by non-state armed groups in civilian areas in Borno State.”

PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday reported the Monguno attack.

In his statement Sunday, Mr Kallon provided more details of the attack.

On 13 June, non-state armed group operatives aboard light trucks mounted with heavy artillery raided Goni Usmanti community in Nganzai LGA before penetrating the town of Monguno around 11.45 a.m. from two different entry points, resulting in clashes with the military which lasted for about two hours, he said.

The armed assailants reached the humanitarian hub, where over 50 aid workers were present at the time of the attack, he added.

He said though the facility only sustained light damage, “initial reports indicate it was directly targeted and an unexploded projectile was found at the gate.”

Mr Kallon said vehicles of the UN and other international organisations were set ablaze, same as humanitarian offices and accommodation. He said protective security measures deployed at the hub prevented any harm to the staff inside.

“I am relieved all staff is safe and secure, but I am shocked by the intensity of this attack,” he said.

“It is the latest of too many clashes affecting civilians, humanitarian actors, and the assistance we provide.

“Civilians and aid workers, their facilities and assets should never be a target and must be protected and respected at all times. I continue to call on all parties to respect and protect civilians and humanitarian personnel in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

History of attacks on UN facilities

Mr Kallon in his statement recalled past attacks by the Boko Haram on UN facilities across Borno State.

“On 18 January, another humanitarian hub in the town of Ngala, near the border to Cameroon, was the target of a complex assault by non-state armed groups.

“An entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles UN agencies rely on for the delivery of aid.

“Humanitarian hubs, managed by IOM for the humanitarian community, are critical to reaching the most vulnerable in insecure areas in Borno State.
They enable aid workers to deliver assistance and carry out life-saving activities in remote locations amid challenging operational environments.

“Such incidents impede the ability for aid workers to stay and deliver assistance to the people most in need in these remote areas. Twenty-five aid organizations are providing assistance to more than 150,000 internally displaced persons in the town of Monguno, in the north-eastern part of Borno State.

“The United Nations and NGO partners in Nigeria are working to bring urgent aid and curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe where 10.6 million people are in need of assistance,” he said.

Earlier, the defence headquarters said troops successfully repelled the Monguno attack, destroying four gun trucks used by the insurgents. The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, also commended the troops for their efforts.