Two dead as daring Boko Haram fighters attack UN helicopter in Nigeria
London, July 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The United Nations on Saturday said two civilians including a five-year-old child were killed and an aid helicopter seriously damaged in a Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria.
Boko Haram fighters launched the attack in the town of Damasak on Thursday.
UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon said both the fatalities and several others who were injured in the attack were on the ground.
In a statement on Saturday, Kallon revealed that a UN Humanitarian Air Service helicopter caught up in the crossfire was hit by bullets, causing serious damage.
He said, “I am gravely concerned about reports of another violent attack by non-state armed groups in Damasak, Borno State, on 2 July, in which at least two innocent civilians lost their lives, including a five-year-old child.
“Several others were injured, and a humanitarian helicopter was hit, sustaining serious damage.”
“A UN Humanitarian Air Service helicopter was hit by bullets during the attack. No aid workers were on board at the time and crew members are all safe,” Kallon said in a statement.
A UN communication seen by AFP said the aircraft was shot as it approached Damasak and the pilots managed to fly back to regional capital Maiduguri 150 kilometres (90 miles) away.
The memo said the UN was suspending rotational flights for one week “to engage with government partners and conduct new risk assessments”.
Helicopters provide a vital link carrying humanitarian personnel and delivering aid to an estimated 7.8 million people in urgent need of assistance across northeast Nigeria.
The UN has complained of an uptick in attacks targeting aid workers in the northeast region.
The area around Damasak on the border with Niger is dominated by the Islamic State West Africa Province, which broke away from jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016.