Nigerian Aid Worker Escapes Boko Haram Attack in Northern Nigeria
Caritas Nigeria staff member Samuel Akorokpor was attacked in Borno on 31 May by Boko Haram fighters. Akorokpor had been working the past couple of weeks in the north east along with other staff to provide relief and help to rebuild communities. He was returning to the field in southern Borno after attending a food security and landmine awareness training in Maiduguri when the attack occurred.
“The gunmen ambushed from both sides of the road,” he said. “Those to our right opened fire at our vehicle, aiming at the car tires. Those to the left opened fire at the vehicles at random. I was sitting in the passenger’s seat. I had to bow down low, taking cover inside the car while the driver increased the speed regardless of the bad road. Luckily, a military van came and engaged with the rebels and we escaped. The vehicle that went in front of ours had its driver hurt by a bullet. 3 soldiers lost their lives.”
After several years of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, Nigeria still struggles with bringing peace to the north-east region, supporting displaced persons and returning refugees and rebuilding the region.An estimated 1.8 million people are displaced in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states as a result of the insurgency. Similarly, an estimated 1.2 returnees have been recorded since after the military reclaimed most communities from Boko Haram. This has led to an increase in the humanitarian need in the north-east region, especially with the current economic challenges in Nigeria.
The Catholic Church through Caritas Nigeria, has been at the forefront of bringing relief to displaced persons in Nigeria and the refugees that were in Cameroun. Caritas Nigeria has been able to support thousands through the provision of food and non-food items, water hygiene and sanitation facilities, livelihoods recovery, protection, health and psycho-social support.
Caritas mobilises resources locally from the Church and from philanthropists in Nigeria, support from Caritas Internationalis, its confederation member organisations, the Czech Republic, Australia, institutional donors and other UN agencies like UNICEF, FAO amongst others.
Caritas Nigeria prays for the peaceful those soldiers who lost their lives in the rescue operation of our staff and others. We thank the Nigerian government and other actors for their efforts in bringing peace to the north east. However, we call on the government to increase the security even in the areas that have been reclaimed by the military, to avoid giving the terrorists opportunities to come back and hurt displaced persons, returnees, aid workers and others in the area.