By Abdulkareem Haruna
The abductors of the six humanitarian workers who went missing after their convoy was attacked in northern Borno State are yet to make any demand, 72 hours after the incident, sources within the UN and security agencies have said.
The aid workers are employees of the Action Against Hunger, otherwise known as Action Contre La Faim (ACF)
On Thursday seven personnel of the ACF came under Boko Haram attack while on their way from Maiduguri to a remote local government area.
The driver of one of the attacked vehicles was killed instantly while the insurgents reportedly forced away six others.
A source in the Nigeria military had in a report published by PRNigeria claimed knowledge of where the six abductees are being held.
“The special force was able to detect the location of the humanitarian aid workers after some arrests were made, ” PRNigeria quoted an undisclosed military source as saying.
The source did not, however, say if any action has been taken towards rescuing the abductees.
The ACF programme advocacy manager, Lucy Chizo, also confirmed reading the claim. She declined comments on whether the abductors have made any contact or demands.
“As far as we at the ACF are concerned, we have no information other than what we put out on Friday, ” she said.
“We have been communicating with the military on this matter and we have such information you are asking for yet.”
On the identity of the abductees, Ms Chizo said her organisation was concerned about the safety of their missing colleagues and would not want to jeopardise that by making public their names.
A source within the military, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to speak on this matter, informed PREMIUM TIMES that “as far as I know, no one has made any demand from the side of the suspected Boko Haram terrorists for now; but I know the military is not relenting in the operation to get them all rescued.”
Thursday’s abduction is the latest of such assault on aid workers after that of March 2018 which eventually led to the death of two female healthcare providers months after they were held in captivity.
Borno and neighbouring Yobe and Adamawa states have suffered a decade of attacks by Boko Haram, the terrorist group responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions of people.
Early July, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report that the conflict in the Lake Chad region is far from being over following the resurgence of attacks by the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) backed Boko Haram.
In March 2018, some UN aid workers were killed in a night attack by Boko Haram insurgents in Rann community in Kala Balge Local Government of Borno.
Three female Red Cross workers were abducted in 2018 and one of them was later shot dead by the group.