Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Aid-group facilities targeted in Nigeria


LAGOS, Nigeria — Suspected Islamic extremists attacked the offices of several internatio­nal aid groups, setting them ablaze and renewing concerns Sunday about the safety of humanitari­an workers in Nigeria’s embattled northeast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibi­lity for the attacks in Damasak town late Saturday, but suspicion immediatel­y fell on a faction of extremists aligned with the Islamic State group.

Edward Kallon, United Nations resident and humanitari­an coordinato­r in Nigeria, expressed concern for civilians and aid workers in the wake of the overnight attack.

“Humanitari­an operations in Damasak will be reduced due to the violent attack, which will affect the support to 8,800 internally displaced people and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitari­an assistance and protection there,” Kallon said in a statement.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said the attack “jeopardize­d our work and threatened the lives of many aid workers.”

Local authoritie­s said the insurgents also looted drugs from a hospital in Damasak and stole an ambulance but were stopped from setting the building on fire.

An insurgency aimed at establishi­ng an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has now lasted more than a decade.

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