Nigerian forces in 'unauthorized search' of United Nations camp

Nigerian forces in 'unauthorized search' of United Nations camp

Mr. Edward Kallon, the United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, has demanded clarification from the Federal Government for Friday's search carried out by security agencies on the UN humanitarian base in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.

The military confirmed the incident in a separate statement, saying the action was in line with the ongoing search efforts.

An internal United Nations memo seen by the Agence France Presse suggested that the Nigerian forces might have been searching for the leader of the jihadist Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau, after rumours spread locally that he was hiding in the compound known as the "Red Roof".

"The UN does not have any information at this time regarding the reason or motivations for the unauthorised search".

Attahiru noted that the house in question does not bear United Nations designation; we later discovered that the building housed some staff of United Nations humanitarian agency.

Security forces entered the humanitarian base at 5am yesterday and searched the tented camp for close to three hours, the coordinator said in a statement. In ther conversation, Shettima reassured the DSG of his government's commitment to safeguarding humanitarian workers and ensuring that global protocol was restored by all security agencies.

The statement, signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Kingsley Samuel, said the searched facility was without designation.

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

The commander added that about 30 houses were searched during the exercise, adding that no arrests were made.

"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". Notwithstanding, the search operation was conducted peacefully at the premises, when the troops were allowed into it, just like other buildings.

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. "The general public is cautioned to avoid peddling rumours which may cause disaffection and to remain law abiding".

The insurgency has driven at least two million people from their homes, left tens of thousands on the brink of starvation and millions more without secure access to food.

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.

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