africa

Jihadists attack UN base in Nigeria, trapping 25 aid workers


Jihadists linked to the Islamic State have attacked a UN base and overrun a humanitarian hub in northeastern Nigeria, trapping 25 aid workers, security and humanitarian sources said.

Nigerian Army soldiers stand at a base in Baga on August 2, 2019. – Intense fighting between a regional force and the Islamic State group in West Africa (ISWAP) has resulted in dozens of deaths, including at least 25 soldiers and more than 40 jihadists, in northeastern Nigeria. ISWAP broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 in part due to its rejection of indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Last year the group witnessed a reported takeover by more hardline fighters who sidelined its leader and executed his deputy. The IS-affiliate has since July 2018 ratcheted up a campaign of attacks against military targets. (Photo by AUDU MARTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Scores of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters invaded the town of Dikwa in restive Borno state, dislodging troops from the military base and torching the humanitarian hub, a military source said.

“We have 25 staff sheltering in the bunker which is under siege by the militants… but so far no staff has been affected,” a humanitarian source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Military reinforcements, including fighter jets and a helicopter gunship, had been deployed to help repel the attackers, the military source said.

A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres confirmed only that there was a “security incident”, but gave no further details.

For more than a decade, Nigeria’s military has battled an insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram that has devastated the northeast, killing at least 36,000 people and displacing more than two million.

The ISWAP group split from Boko Haram in 2016 and has become a dominant threat in the region, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.

The violence has spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the militants.

The latest attack comes after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari replaced his four top military commanders after months of pressure over his government’s failure to end the Islamist insurgency.

The latest assault in Dikwa comes three years to the day after ISWAP fighters attacked a UN humanitarian hub in the remote northeastern town of Rann, killing three aid staff and abducting a female worker.

On Friday, ISWAP fighters in trucks fitted with machine guns raided Dikwa, sending residents fleeing.

The town, 90 kilometres (55 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri, is home to more than 130,000 people, including 75,000 who had already fled from other parts of the region and were living in camps where they rely on food handouts from aid agencies.





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more