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UN condemns abduction, execution of civilians in Borno, Yobe states

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United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Antonio Canhandula, has condemned alleged abduction and execution of people on highways by armed groups in Borno and Yobe states.

Head, Public Information, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mrs. Eve Sabbagh, disclosed this in a statement yesterday in Maiduguri.

The statement quoted Canhandula as saying that said the organisation was horrified by reports it received on Monday of execution of several civilians and abduction of others traveling on the Monguno-Maiduguri and Damaturu-Biu roads.

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“As information is still coming through, the humanitarian community working in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, condemn the incidents that took place yesterday and the increasing practice by armed groups to set up checkpoints targeting civilians.

“It is urgent for the Nigerian authorities to do their utmost best to prevent further violence and brutality and protect the civilian population, including aid workers, from such grave violations of international laws.

“Our concerns are especially with women and children who are among the most vulnerable and are caught up in the violence,” Canhandula said.

Canhandula also noted that the upsurge in violence witnessed over the past years and attacks on main roads in the past six months had clearly resulted to the deterioration of humanitarian situation.

He disclosed that over 160,000 people fled their homes for safety and were currently taking refuge in congested camps, adding that the situation was over stretching the capacity of many internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps.

The UN official said insecurity and violent attacks continue to prevent people in many areas of Borno and Yobe states to access basic services, livelihoods, as well as land for farming and grazing.

He over 36,000 people have been killed since 2009 and nine aid workers died while trying to assist those in need in Borno.

“Over 7 million people remain in need of urgent lifesaving assistance in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Many are surviving in harsh conditions without humanitarian assistance as UN and humanitarian organisations estimated that 1.2 million people have become unreachable.

“The humanitarian community in Nigeria reminds all armed groups of their duty to protect civilians and calls for increased respect of international humanitarian law. The protection of civilians should be paramount.
“We, therefore, urge members of the public and the media, to refrain from sharing any unconfirmed information or spreading misinformation, which could endanger the lives of the abducted persons,” the statement added.


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