The United Nations has revealed that the number of aid workers killed by the insurgents in the north-eastern region of Nigeria in 2018 has doubled in 2019, Concise News reports.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, made the revelation known in a statement made available to Concise News on Thursday.
According to the statement, Kallon also condemned the spate of attacks on aid workers providing support to victims of insurgency in the region.
He, however, urged the Nigerian Government and all relevant agencies to protect the residents and aid workers from “grave violations” of international laws.
The statement read: “A total of twelve aid workers have lost their lives in 2019.
“This is twice more than in 2018, which we thought was amongst the most dangerous years for humanitarian actors in Nigeria.”
He blamed the rise in the level of insecurity in the region in which aid workers carry out their duties as the major problem facing the humanitarian workers.
Kallon advised that special attention should be given to women and children who he said were among the most vulnerable people caught up in the violence.
According to him, aid workers and the assistance they provide to the most vulnerable populations make the difference between life and death for entire communities in crisis-affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
“Their security is paramount, and I call on all parties to assure the safety of aid workers and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid,” he said.
Kallon also decried the activities of the insurgents at various checkpoints in the region, saying the trend has exposed a lot of innocent citizens to attacks in recent times.
He said: “I am extremely worried by the increasingly insecure environment that humanitarians are working in to provide urgent and vital assistance to civilians affected by the crisis.
“The humanitarian community is troubled by the increased trend in vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes in the states of Borno and Yobe.”
“These checkpoints expose civilians and humanitarians to heightened risks of being killed or abducted,” the humanitarian coordinator said.
UN statement is coming on the heels of the rescue of five aid workers abducted by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on 22nd December along the Monguno-Maiduguri Road, Borno State.
Concise News understands that the aid workers were rescued on Wednesday by the DSS in collaboration with other security agencies and partners.
The rescued workers are Jennifer Samuel Ukumbong of the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA); Asabe Cletus Musa also of ALIMA; Adamu Auwal Arthur Ibojekwe China of Solidarity International; and George Danbaba Michael of International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
All of them were rescued in good condition and are being debriefed as at the time of publishing this report.