Boko Haram At­tacks Three Borno Com­mu­ni­ties, De­stroys UNICEF Clinic...

THISDAY - - FRONT PAGE - Page 14

Ter­ror­ist group, Boko Haram yesterday at­tacked three Borno set­tle­ments and burnt down the UNICEF clinic in Rann, Kala Balge Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state.

The UNICEF funded clinic, the only health­care cen­tre in the town had at dif­fer­ent times been at­tacked by the in­sur­gents.

The ter­ror­ist group had on Thurs­day, at­tacked Bama and Rann, be­fore ex­tend­ing their on­slaughts to Jakana on the Maiduguri- Da­maturu high­way on Fri­day evening.

Ac­cord­ing to se­cu­rity sources, dozens of gun­men sus­pected to be mem­bers of the Boko Haram in­sur­gents made an at­tempt to in­fil­trate Bama Town on Thurs­day evening.

The se­cu­rity source, who asked not to named, told THIS­DAY on phone that “the in­sur­gents wanted to in­vade the town to cause havoc, but un­for­tu­nately for them, they were met by bat­tle ready soldiers who gave them a run for their money.”

A res­i­dent of the town, Abba Modu, said that through­out the night no one could sleep in the town as the soldiers en­gaged the in­sur­gents in gun duel.

A mil­i­tary source also told our cor­re­spon­dent that the Nige­rian mil­i­tary was able to re­pel the in­sur­gents af­ter a fierce gun bat­tle on Thurs­day.

Ac­cord­ing to an­other res­i­dent of the town, Yabawa Aji, who spoke in a tele­phone chat with our cor­re­spon­dent, some of the flee­ing res­i­dents were among those caught in the cross­fire.

He how­ever could not as­cer­tain the ca­su­alty fig­ures, as ac­cord­ing to him, many fled into the bush for safety.

In a state­ment con­firm­ing the at­tack on Rann, the Chief of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion at UNICEF, Eliana Drakopoulus, said: “Late last night, there was fight­ing in Rann and sev­eral struc­tures were burned, in­clud­ing a UNICEF-sup­ported clinic.”

She said: “All UNICEF partner staff are safe. Some have been moved tem­po­rar­ily to Maiduguri, while we as­sess the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion. We are do­ing our best to con­tinue pro­vid­ing life­sav­ing ser­vices - es­pe­cially WASH, health and nu­tri­tion - de­spite the volatile se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion.

“The at­tack is the sec­ond on Rann this year in which UNICEF-sup­ported staff were af­fected. On March 1, 2018, an armed at­tack in Rann re­sulted in the death of three hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers and the ab­duc­tion of three oth­ers. Two of the de­ceased worked with IOM, while Dr. Onyedikachi Izuogu worked with UNICEF. One of the three ab­ducted aid work­ers, Nurse Alice Lok­sha, is still be­ing held.

“We call on all par­ties to the hos­til­i­ties to en­sure safety for hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers and civil­ians. At­tacks such as these could lead to the with­draw­ing of hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers, which could have dire con­se­quences for civil­ians in the area in des­per­ate need of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance.

“There are cur­rently 76,389 peo­ple in Rann, most of whom are be­ing sup­ported with es­sen­tial hu­man­i­tar­ian aid,” she said.

The in­sur­gents at­tack on Jakana, a dis­tance of 23 kilo­me­tres from Maiduguri, the birth­place of Boko Haram re­sulted in tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion of move­ment on the Mai dug uriDa­maturu high­way.

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