Aid group facilities targetted in northeast Nigeria

LAGOS, NIGERIA (AP) – Suspected extremists attacked the offices of several international aid groups, setting them ablaze and renewing concerns on Sunday about the safety of humanitarian workers in Nigeria’s embattled northeast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in Damasak town late Saturday, but suspicion immediately fell on a faction of extremists aligned with the Islamic State group. Last year the militants warned Nigerians they would become targets along with foreigners if they assisted international aid groups or the military.

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon expressed concern for civilians and aid workers on Sunday in the wake of the overnight attack.

“Humanitarian operations in Damasak will be reduced due to the violent attack, which will affect the support to 8,800 internally displaced people and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection there,” Kallon said in a statement.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said the attack “jeopardised our work and threatened the lives of many aid workers”.

File photo shows people walking on a street in the town of Damasak, northeast Nigeria. PHOTO: AFP