The killing of aid workers


The last couple of weeks have witnessed increased tempo in the activities of the terror sect, Boko Haram. Last week, in a village in Borno state, four aid workers were killed in a Boko Haram attack in Rann, in northeast Nigeria. Some of the people killed are staff or affiliates of the United Nations Organisation, UNO. In a statement, the global body stated that this happened on Friday, and is the latest violence to hit the remote town.
Reports quoting the Un spokeswoman, Samantha Newport suggest that the attack happened “after dark” outside a camp housing some 55,000 people displaced by the conflict and appeared to target the Nigerian military.
Other sources related that Rann, which is some 175 kilometres  from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri; and a senior military source equally gave an identical death toll. They also said eight soldiers were killed in the attack but there was no immediate official confirmation. Newport said: “Four aid workers were killed, one aid worker was injured and one aid worker is missing, feared abducted. “Of the aid workers that were killed, two worked for the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) in camp management; and one was a medical doctor working as a third party consultant for UNICEF,” the UN children’s agency, she said. No details were immediately available for the fourth but Newport said the injured and missing were both women. All those involved were Nigerians, she added.
The fact that we have to quote UN sources validates the enormity of our situation. The propaganda tools of the terror gang could not have gotten a better incident to espouse their vile campaign. It is the characteristic of obscure groups to tend to punish United Nations personnel in order to globalise their agenda. It’s a long held tactic but it is just not good for us.
From the human angle, it is disgraceful that these terrorists will target and kill folks who gave themselves to serve vulnerable people in a bid to attract attention. Killing of anyone illegally is bad already, then killing those committed to easing frustration is the height of stupidity.
This also brings to mind the kind of security and intelligence around both liberated areas and camps where displaced persons are kept. With this sort of ugly incident, we should have continued to chase along factors that will help to quickly resolve the conflict. This Boko Haram phenomenon together with its affiliates have reigned for too long. It is about time something clinical is done about it. They have wasted enough lives and it is time we brace up or ship out.
Rann has equally suffered mistaken identity. Airforce jet dropped bombs and tens of people were killed. This triggered mourning across the world. But this is a law enforcement and intelligence failure. There are some things that should no longer happen. One of them is bombing of IDP camps. It’s very distressing. And this is why when several news reports surfaced about continued  stealing of supplies meant for IDPs, it showed that our law enforcement agents had been contaminated. We are therefore not surprised when bad news such as targeting of IDP camps begin to surface.
We still have a lot of work to do with the IDPs and their camps. We need to tighten security and move quickly to end the war so that people can return to their homes. This adhoc arrangement cannot continue like this going forward. We sympathise with the loved ones of the victims of the camp bombing. Here is hoping that the Federal Government gives succour to their dependant.
It will be recalled that Boko Haram fighters killed nine persons from the Rann Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in September 2017, as they worked on farms just outside the town. In January last year, a botched Nigerian air strike intended to hit jihadist fighters killed at least 112 people as aid workers distributed food. Commanders at the time called the bombing a mistake and blamed “the fog of war”. An air force board of inquiry later blamed “lack of appropriate marking of the area” for the bombardment and an unexpected gathering of people at the location.

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