The Nigerian army has defended its invasion of a United Nations building in Maiduguri, Borno State on Friday, insisting that it was part of its counter-insurgency measures.
The UN has accused the army of invading the building, which is used as its humanitarian base, without authorisation.
A statement by UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, revealed that the search could be extremely detrimental to the work the organisation is doing in the state.
According to the statement, “At circa 0500 hours today (Friday), members of the Nigerian security forces entered the UN base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri without authorisation. 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 information at this time regarding the reason or motivations for the unauthorised search. The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s North-East is one of the most severe in the world today.”
Kallon then called on the Nigerian government to provide clarification on why the building was invaded.
However, the army defended its action claiming that the search conducted was part of its counter-insurgency operation in the north east.
In a statement signed by 7th Division spokesperson, Kingsley Samuel, the army said it had been conducting cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the state.
“It has forced the Boko Haram terrorists to change tactics and resort to the employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace. This necessitated the need to intensify cordon and search in the Maiduguri metropolis and environment.
“On August 10, 2017, the Theatre Command received information from one of its credible sources that some high-value Boko Haram suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bypass.
“It, therefore, became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operation. 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 members, 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.”
According to the Army, the clearance operations have been yielding successes, the Punch reports.
We can’t wait to see how this saga would play out.