Nigerian security officials say jihadists linked to the Islamic State group attacked the northeastern city of Dikwa and the humanitarian station there
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Islamic State-linked jihadists have attacked the city of Dikwa in northeastern Nigeria and humanitarian stations there, security officials said.
The attack in the state of Borno, which began late Monday night, occurred about 48 hours after Borno state governor Babagana Zulum visited the community along with other officials, to distribute the money and food displaced families there.
The attackers arrived in trucks and motorcycles, surrounding residents and people staying at the camp for people displaced inside Nigeria, residents said.
A member representing Dikwa at the Borno Assembly State House, Zakariya Dikwa, said they burned the police station, the primary health center and attacked humanitarian offices and left with their vehicles.
“The attack was massive because it was Boko Haram the fighters went there with over 13 trucks of weapons – all had their bodies covered in mud, ”he said.
The army later confirmed that the fighters were with Boko Haram an offshoot of the Islamic State of the Province of West Africa, known as ISWAP. A statement on Tuesday said the army had broken up jihadists from Dikwa with heavy bombing and firepower. The jihadists tried to attack the city after hearing about it food distribution.
The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, also confirmed the attack on humanitarian facilities in Dikva, saying several relief facilities were directly targeted, in a statement issued by the UNOCHA office in Nigeria.
“The attack started last night and, given that information is still coming in, I am outraged when I hear that the premises of several humanitarian agencies and hospitals have allegedly been set on fire or suffered damage,” he said. “I strongly condemn the attack and am deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Dikva, including internally displaced people inside and outside the camps and thousands of people who have returned to the community to rebuild their lives after years of displacement.”
The attack will “affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and protection, especially given that the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading in the state of Borno,” he said.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the “humanitarian hub was run by the International Organization for Migration,” a UN agency that provides migration services and advice to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees and migrant workers.
ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and has become a threat in the region.
Nigeria is fighting a more than ten-year Boko Haram uprising that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.