The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has expressed concern over the invasion of its office in Maiduguri by the Nigerian military.
The United Nations in a press statement issued by its Head of Communications UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Miss Samantha Newport said “On 11 August 2017, at circa 0500 hours, members of the Nigerian security forces entered a United Nations base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, without authorization.
He said “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 additional information at this time regarding the reason or motivations for the unauthorized search.
“The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and the Designated Official for security in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, is liaising with the Government of Nigeria,” the statement added
It could be recalled that residents of Maiduguri woke up on Friday morning with a rumour going round the city and on social media platforms that the Boko Haram Leader, Abubakar Shekau has been arrested in the UN office in Maiduguri.
Our correspondent gathered that some stern looking security forces including the military raided the United Nations Head Office along Pompomari Bye- Pass road in Maiduguri Borno state.
The raid which is the first of its kind since Humanitarian Workers and Non Governmental Organizations trooped into the state in the name of catering to the well being of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in the north east.
Since the recent video released by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau where he claimed that the Nigerian Military are looking for him in bushes but that he was right close to them within the Maiduguri City, resident have been pointing accusing fingers at some NGOs for conniving with insurgents for continued Boko Haram insurgency.
Unconfirmed reports from sources alleged that a very highly placed influential criminal was suspected to be living in the house which belonged to late former Governor of the state, Malla Kachallah, before it was rented out to the UN.
Reacting to the raid, the Nigerian Army in a statement signed by its spokesman,Lt. Col. Kinsley Samuel said “as part of ongoing counter insurgency operations, the Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, has been conducting several clearance as well as cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the Theatre.
“The clearance operations effort has been yielding several successes. 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 intensification of Cordon and Search operations in Maiduguri metropolis and environment,” the statement added.
Lt. Col. Samuel said “the 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 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 the United Nations Staff, although the property did not carry a UN designation. On the whole, the operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found,” the spokesman added.
The statement further added that in the last one week the cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana among several other areas. On 10th August 2017, the command assured the general public that these operations are being conducted to safeguard lives and property but not targeted at any individual or group. The general public is cautioned to avoid peddling rumors which may cause disaffection and to remain law abiding.