UN Calls for Check on Borno, Kaduna Attacks

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*Says killing of farmers by Boko Haram may aggravate food crisis

The United Nations (UN) has expressed grave concern over recent sectarian and communal killings in Borno and Kaduna States.

The UN in a statement on Tuesday by it’s Nigeria’s Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon said the attacks need to be checked immediately by the Nigerian Government.

He lamented that over 90 lives were lost in attacks in both the North East state of Borno and the North West state, Kaduna.

Kallon said: “I would like to express my grave concern over news of renewed killings by the armed insurgent group, Boko Haram. It has been reported that close to forty lives were lost in separate incidents over the last few days, when the group attacked civilians in Borno State.

“While numerous efforts are underway to bring the crisis in the North-East to an end, I would like to appeal to the Government of Nigeria and security forces in the region to scale up their efforts aimed at protecting civilian communities especially in areas where sporadic attacks have been recorded recently. These attacks, if unchecked, may reverse the gains made so far in securing lives and property in the region.”

He added that: “I have also learned with sadness, the loss of over fifty lives following communal clashes in Kasuwan Magani area, South of Kaduna State. I urge authorities in the State to seriously look into circumstances leading to these clashes, which have become too common. I appeal to all stakeholders to commence processes to amicably address their underlying causes and bring the perpetrators to account.”

He however said: “On behalf of the UN family in Nigeria, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the bereaved. The UN remains ready to support the Government and people of Nigeria in seeking sustainable solutions to related national challenges.”

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has said weekend’s killing of 12 farmers in Borno State may aggravate the food crisis in the North East.

The almost a decade old crisis has left many farmlands inaccessible and subsequently affected the supply and cost of foodstuffs in the troubled region.

In a statement on Tuesday, NRC described the killing of at least 12 farmers in Kalle village, Borno state, Northeast Nigeria over the weekend as horrible.

The organisation said that the repeated attacks against farmers risk aggravating the food crisis in northeast Nigeria.

The statement read: “Farmers must be protected so they can cultivate their land and return to their families alive.

“The level of violence registered lately in Northeast Nigeria is alarming. Farmers have been easy targets. These attacks risk making people too afraid to cultivate their land and may worsen the existing food crisis,” the statement quoted Anja Riiser, area manager for NRC in Maiduguri to have said.

He added that: “The latest attacks against farmers underscore the vulnerability of rural communities, even as the authorities are encouraging displaced people to return home to rebuild their lives.”

“We were on the farms when about 15 armed men surrounded us,” Haruna, who escaped the attack, told NRC staff, the statement said. “They took the men to a tree and started slaughtering them like animals. They repeatedly said they will not allow any of us to harvest the crops we cultivated this year.”

It has been reported that at least 1,300 people fled after the attacks and many have taken refuge at internally displaced persons camps in Maiduguri.

Families and friends of the slain farmers said, have also been reported  to have said they were too scared to return to their farms.

It is estimated that 2.9 million people are facing acute food insecurity in northeastern states of Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno where violence has been on the rise.

Crops have been destroyed and food stores looted, while farmers have either been killed or forced to flee their fields.

 




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