Stay off North-East conflict areas, army tells Int’l organisations


Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Nigerian Army has advised international aid organisations to stay off conflict areas in the North-East in order not to be victims of the crisis.

The Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, stated this on Friday when he received officials of the Medicine Sans Frontier, otherwise known as Doctors Without Borders, at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.

The army chief noted that the security of international and local aid workers was a top priority for the Nigerian government, noting that actions that would expose them to danger should be avoided.

Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, noted that humanitarian workers should avoid conflict areas because the Boko Haram terrorists carried out attacks indiscriminately.

He said, “Despite your neutrality and impartiality, at times situations make it difficult for you to have the reach you would like to have – neutrally without any security man or apparatus seen around you.

“We must continue to operate with understandings so that while you are providing succour for the people, you also don’t come into harm’s way.”

The army chief noted that the military would, however, continue to ensure adequate security for members of the organisation to help them alleviate the plight of persons affected by the insurgency.

The MSF President, Mr Kristos Christi, said the group visited to solicit the army’s support to provide medical assistance to thousands of Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East, adding that they had delivered thousands of babies for pregnant women in the region.

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The Amnesty International’s spokesperson, Sanusi Isa, could not be reached to comment on the army’s directive, as his line did not connect.

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