UNICEF will continue to provide assistance to millions of conflict-affected children in northeast Nigeria, despite an attack on its convoy by Boko Haram Islamists, the UN children’s agency has said.
The jihadists ambushed a humanitarian convoy that included workers from UNICEF, UNFPA, and IOM while returning from Bama in northeast Borno state on Thursday, injuring several people, including two soldiers, and prompting UNICEF to temporarily suspend relief assistance to review the situation.
“We are working at full strength in the Borno state capital Maiduguri,” UNICEF Nigeria Representative Jean Gough said in a statement late Friday.
“We continue to call for increased efforts to reach people in desperate need across the state. We cannot let this heartless attack divert any of us from reaching the more than two million people who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.”
The agency urged donors and humanitarian organisations to scale-up the response to the emerging disaster in Borno state, the epicentre of Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency.
“The violence has disrupted farming and markets, destroyed food stocks, and damaged or destroyed health and water facilities. We absolutely have to reach more of these communities,” he said.