Army explains why it raided UN facility in Maiduguri

Ebun Francis || The Nigeria Army on Friday explained why it’s soldiers invaded the UN humanitarian compound in Maiduguri Bornu State, North Esat’ Nigeria.

The Army said that some its soldiers acted on credible information that Boko Haram operatives had infiltrated the area.

The UN’s statement signed by Samantha Newport, head of communications had expressed grave concern over the unauthorized search of a United Nations base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri, Borno State.

“At circa 0500 hours today, members of the Nigerian security forces entered the UN base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri without authorization. The security forces carried out a search of the tented camp and left the area at circa 0800 hours.

“The United Nations does not have any information at this time regarding the reason or motivations for the unauthorized search. The Humanitarian Coordinator is working closely with the Government of Nigeria to resolve this issue…

“The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east is one of the most severe in the world… “I am extremely concerned that these actions could be detrimental to the critical work that is being carried out every day to support the most vulnerable in the region and I call upon the Government of Nigeria to provide clarification.

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But in a statement issued by Kingsley Samuel, a lieutenant colonel, the army said it carried out a search on the property because it had credible intelligence that some Boko Haram insurgents had infiltrated the area.

Samuel said there was no sign to show that the property was a UN building, but that no arrest was made there.

“As part of ongoing counter insurgency operations, the theatre command Operation Lafiya Dole has been conducting several clearances as well as cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the theatre. The clearance operations effort has been yielding several successes,” he said in a statement.

“It has forced the Boko Haram terrorists (BHTs) to change tactics and resort to employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace.  This necessitated the need to intensify cordon and search in Maiduguri metropolis and environment.

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“In the last one week cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana amongst several other areas. On 10th August 2017, Theatre command received information from one of its credible sources that some high-value BHT suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bye-Pass.

“It, therefore, became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operations.  The operation was successfully conducted as over 30 houses were searched.  One of such included a property which was said to be occupied by United Nations staff, although the property did not carry a UN designation. On the whole, operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found.”