Military Intensifies Cordon and Search Operations for Boko Haram in Maiduguri

Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator Peter Lundberg gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Maiduguri northeast Nigeria

The searched raised concerns amongst members of the global community with the United Nations directing its humanitarian workers operating in Borno State to remain indoors.

Many have pointed accusing fingers on some NGOs for conniving with insurgents continue wreck havoc.

The army has raided a United Nations compound in search of Boko Haram members.

"The security forces carried out a search of the tented camp and left the area at circa 0800 hours".

Samantha Newport, of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), says the search lasted almost three hours.

Kallon said that he was extremely concerned that the actions could be detrimental to the critical work that was being carried out every day to support the most vulnerable in the region, adding "I call upon the Government of Nigeria to provide clarification".

The property owned by a former governor of Borno State, the late Mala Kachalla, now serves as a hostel for United Nations humanitarian aid personnel.

As it is, Military authorities are yet to issue any statement on the raid at press time.

The meeting arose following a late night cordon and search on the biggest premises of United Nations agencies in Maiduguri by soldiers as part of what the military later described as "a week long search operations for fleeing Boko Haram terrorists conducted on 30 houses in different areas, one of which included a property occupied by the United Nations around Pompamari".

"In the last one week, cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari-Polo, Muna Garage, and Jakana amongst several other areas".

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The statement said the army carried out a search on the property because it had credible intelligence that some Boko Haram insurgents had infiltrated the area.

"It, therefore, became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operation".

"Again I reiterate we here in support of the governmrnt of Nigeria".

General Ibrahim Attahiru, who commands operations in Borno state where Maiduguri is located, said on Saturday that the army "will continue to work toward providing and enabling a conductive environment to United Nations agencies to enhance their operations".

"The general public is cautioned to avoid peddling rumours which may cause disaffection and to remain law abiding".

Over 20,000 people are estimated to have been killed over the eight years of the Boko Haram conflict and more than two million displaced. Tens of thousands live on the brink of starvation and millions more lack secure access to food.

A retired commissioner of police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, however, said there was nothing wrong with the search of the United Nations building by the military since it was geared towards the elimination of terrorism, a goal the world body was also working towards.

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