By Sadiq Abubakar (MAIDUGURI)
The UN Nigeria Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Matthias Schmale has expressed concern over the recent violence against civilians in the north eastern part of the country.
Mr. Schmale made his feelings known in a statement issued on Thursday by Mrs. Christina Powell, The Public Information Officer of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Nigeria, and made available to newsmen in Maiduguri.
“I am gravely concerned about the recent waves of violence affecting civilians in north-east Nigeria. Through both attacks by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) and communal clashes, the violence raises immediate concerns for the safety of civilians and puts at serious risk the capacity of humanitarian aid organizations to securely deliver assistance to vulnerable people.”
“Between 6 and 9 June, renewed clashes between various agrarian communities in Adamawa State from Guyuk and Lamurde local government areas (LGAs) claimed over 30 civilian lives, wounded some 57 people and destroyed or damaged more than 500 homes. The fighting was triggered by disputes over the ownership of farmland. Over 10,000 people have been displaced.
“On 7 June 2022, NSAG operatives reportedly killed dozens of people during an attack on Mugdala village, on the outskirts of Dikwa town in Borno State. This was the latest in a string of major attacks by NSAGs, and took place two weeks after an attack on 24 May in Mudu village in Dikwa LGA killed at least 32 civilians. Reports we have received indicate that the civilians in the 24 May attack were Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who ventured from Rann LGA to collect scrap metals”, The UN Nigeria Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said.
He added that: “As insecurity persists throughout north-east Nigeria, the protection of civilians remains at serious risk. On 28 May, NSAGs attacked an IDP camp in Mafa LGA, also in Borno State, looting food and other supplies. Major supply routes are under threat, with NSAGs targeting commuter vehicles through illegal vehicle checkpoints, as seen with six trucks carrying food supplies and fuel being set ablaze and civilians abducted on 6 June along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road.
” Unexploded ordnance (UXO) continues to jeopardize the safety of civilians, with one child killed and seven others injured following the explosion of an UXO in an IDP camp in Ngala LGA on 2 June.
“On behalf of the humanitarian community I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the victims who were killed in these horrific incidents. I also wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded.
“I call on all armed parties to immediately stop the violence and respect international humanitarian law and human rights law and ensure the protection of civilians,” Matthias said.