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UN, Borno State Governor express pain, horror at killing of 5 aid workers

The United Nation (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has condemned the killing of five aid workers by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State, Northeast region of the country.

And Governor of Borno State, in a statement on Thursday, expressed shock and sadness over the killing of the five aid workers.

The five aid workers were from the Borno Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Action Against Hunger, Reach International and International Rescue Committee..

Kallon, in a statement released in Maiduguri, said he was “utterly” horrified by the gruesome killing, describing them as committed humanitarians who devoted their lives to helping vulnerable people and communities in an area heavily affected by violence.

According to the statement, “our colleagues and partners were abducted while travelling on a main route connecting the Northern town of Monguno with Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Their safety and securing their safe release have been our highest priority since they were captured in June. I strongly condemn all violence targeting aid workers and the civilians they are assisting.

“This is tragically not the first killing of kidnapped aid workers. We have repeatedly called for such devastating fate and blatant violation of international humanitarian law to never happen again. And yet, it does. I implore all armed parties to step up their responsibilities and stop targeting aid workers and civilians. At a time when humanitarian needs have reached unprecedented levels, it is unacceptable that those who are trying to help are being attacked and killed.”

Kallon said that the incident would not deter the international community from providing aid to millions of Nigerians who desperately needed assistance in the Northeast.

The UN Humanitarian Chief noted that nearly eight million people are in need of urgent life-saving assistance in Northeast Nigeria at the beginning of the year and today, 10.6 million people need urgent support as conflict-affected states battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Babagana Zulum, in a statement by his Special Assistant Media and Strategies, Malam Isa Gusau, said he is deeply pained, describing the aid workers as “heroes who were serving humanity.”

Gusau said that the Governor was informed of the execution on Wednesday evening while visiting the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Headquarters in Abuja to discuss introduction of Civil-Defence Volunteer Programme and the deployment of more agro-rangers to secure farmers in Borno.

The Boko Haram terrorists had released a video which showed five blindfolded aid workers with four of them shot at close range while one was spared even though he was also positioned for execution.

Though the Governor is in Abuja, he has mobilized a government delegation to visit the families of the aid workers to participate in funeral activities and to pay condolence visits to affected humanitarian partners through UNOCHA.

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