Many wounded as Boko Haram attacks UN team, soldiers in Bama [photos]
A team of United Nations, UN, officials were attacked on Thursday by Boko Haram, Daily Post reports.
The officials’ convoy, escorted by heavily armed soldiers, came under heavy attack as they made their way to Bama.
An impeccable source told our correspondent Thursday night that the officials, working for the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, were ambushed at an area close to Bama, under Konduga local government area of Borno State.
Konduga is less than 30 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital.
The UN team, it was learnt, and other donor agencies were going to an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Bama on an intervention mission
The delegation was moving food items and drugs to the IDPs.
“Boko Haram fighters numbering over 50, armed with anti aircraft gun (machine gun mounted on open truck), suddenly emerged just after Kawuri village and rained bullets on the UN motorcade,” said the source.
“One of the officials confided in me that the soldiers saved the day. They fought with everything they had until Boko Haram retreated into the bush. This would have been a great embarrassment to Nigeria.
“Four of the soldiers and and driver of one of the UN vehicle was hit. The person beside the driver took control of the vehicle. If not, it would have been disastrous for the occupants.
“Some officials sustained minor injuries, no lives lost. All survivors are presently at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital”, the source stated.
When contacted, Army spokesman, Col Sani Usman, told our correspondent on phone that he will get back.
In a statement he later sent, Usman noted that “Troops returning from Bama on humanitarian escort duty, were ambushed enroute Maiduguri by suspected remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hiding in Meleri village, a few kilometres from Kawuri.
“The gallant troops, however, successfully cleared the ambush and exploited up to Afunori.
“Unfortunately, 2 soldiers and 3 civilians were wounded in the ambush, among whom were staff of United Nations agencies and other international humanitarian organizations.
“The wounded have been evacuated to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri and they are in stable condition.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to sympathize with our wounded colleagues, the United Nations and other Non-governmental organizations whose personnel were also injured in this sad incident.
“We wish to reiterate our determination and commitment to ensuring safety and security in the North East and safeguarding the lives of all persons.”
Reacting, Biodun Banire, Public Information Assistant, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also confirmed the incident.
“I just got the information, there was an attack. Our officials and soldiers were attacked but no casualty.
“All responding to treatment. I can’t say more than this. I will provide an update later”.