Sunday, 17 December, 2017

United Nations relations with Nigeria 'intact' after dispute over army raid

United Nations relations with Nigeria 'intact' after dispute over army raid United Nations relations with Nigeria 'intact' after dispute over army raid
Melinda Barton | 13 August, 2017, 07:44

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) yesterday resumed assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State, 24 hours after an army raid on its Maiduguri compound.

The Army, in a statement on Friday, defended its action, saying the action was part of counter-insurgency activities of its Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole.

Edward Kallon, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria has expressed grave concern following the search.

The Nigerian Army acted on intelligence reports in combing some areas of Maiduguri Metropolis which included a house purported to accommodate some staff of an global humanitarian organisation.

Edward Kallon, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, expressed "grave concern" Friday over the military's actions in Maiduguri in the northeast.

A worsening of relations between the United Nations and Nigeria could risk destabilizing efforts to deliver aid to nearly seven million people affected by the eight-year conflict with Boko Haram, one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.

According to him, the military recorded significant success in various operations conducted in the theatre in the past two weeks.

But the army said it was not aware that the building housed United Nations personnel, and described the global organisation as one of its strongest and worthy allies in the fight against Boko Haram.

The Army stated, "It has forced the Boko Haram terrorists to change tactics and resort to the employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace".

"It, therefore, became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operation".

General Ibrahim Attahiru, who commands operations in Borno state where Maiduguri is located, said on Saturday that the army "will continue to work toward providing and enabling a conductive environment to United Nations agencies to enhance their operations".

"In the last one week, cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari -Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana amongst several other areas".

An army statement revealed, that the said building, housing United Nations staff, didn't carry a United Nations designation, and the operation was successfully concluded, but no arrest was made, because the suspects were not found.

"At about 2 a.m. early this morning, Nigerian Army troops in trucks are conducting..."

The UN ordered local staff to work from home today following the incident.

More than $650 million has been given by the global community to the response this year, though agencies say more is needed to keep the crisis from worsening.

"There have been contacts - we understand from the government that this was a mistake".