Suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a convoy of humanitarian workers in the early hours of Thursday, July 18, 2019, along the Maiduguri-Damasak road, killing two staff of the aid agency and abducting a couple others.
A source told Pulse that humanitarian workers on the bill of Action Against Hunger—a global organization committed to ending world hunger, with origins in France—were ambushed and attacked as they traveled the Maiduguri-Damasak road.
“The terrorists killed two male staff of the organization and kidnapped two female staff. The insurgents left the scene with the Hilux vehicle the aid workers were traveling in”, the source who spoke to Pulse on condition of anonymity, stated.
Attempts to confirm the incident from Action Against Hunger and the military high command, proved futile.
Phone calls made to Action Against Hunger were neither answered nor returned.
When Pulse rang the mobile of Army spokesperson, Colonel Sagir Musa, the call was repeatedly cut off.
Pulse also sent Col Musa a text message which has also not been replied before this story was published.
Reuters has now reported that one Action Against Hunger staff member, two drivers and three other health workers are missing following the attack on the convoy in Nigeria's restive northeast region.
In a statement, the NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) said one driver was killed.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident as these colleagues are dedicated to providing life-saving assistance to individuals and families,” Action Against Hunger said of Thursday’s attack.
Soldiers killed a day earlier
The attack of the aid workers occurred barely 24 hours after six soldiers were killed by the insurgents.
One of the victims of the Wednesday, July 17 attack was a colonel and another a captain, according to Premium Times.
Several Boko Haram fighters were also killed by the Nigerian soldiers.
The Wednesday attack occurred at about 6:00 p.m. along Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway during a patrol by the Colonel and other soldiers of the 29 Task Force Brigade, the report read.
The army has just confirmed this particular attack, with a statement signed by Colonel Ado Isa, Deputy Director Public Relations of Operation Lafiya Dole, stating that: "sadly, a Colonel and captain as well as 3 soldiers on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu ran into an ambush staged by the fleeing terrorists".
A reign of terror
Boko Haram has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions more since it commenced its insurgency against the Nigerian state in 2009.
On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Boko Haram terrorists overran the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, carting away large cache of arms and military equipment after leaving the base strewn with the corpses of dozens of soldiers.
Latest attacks from the terrorists are at odds with the military's public statements detailing how the sects have been decimated.
The military recently stated that it is “making major breakthroughs” in its campaign against Boko Haram and Islamic State's West African branch.
The Nigerian federal government repeatedly claims that Boko Haram has been "technically defeated" and that its pockets of soft target attacks in recent times are akin to the last kicks of a dying horse.
In his second-term inaugural speech, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria was meeting security challenges "with much greater support to the security forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local intelligence. We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve”.
He also added that “when I took the oath of office on 29 May 2015, insecurity reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local governments in the North East, Boko Haram could at will attack any city including the Federal Capital, could threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations building and Police Headquarters in Abuja”.
However, sustained efforts to eradicate the insurgents have failed and the military continues to suffer heavy losses.
Boko Haram has also kidnapped schoolgirls and aid workers since Buhari took over from Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Nigerian leader in 2015.