The Nigerian Army on Saturday reacted to allegation of targeting UN facility during its search operation in Maiduguri, saying the search was not particularly targeted at the international organisation’s base.
The United Nations base for humanitarian workers in the Borno state capital was on August 11 raided by the Nigerian troops without authorisation, claimed Samantha Newport, Head of Communications I UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA.
Addressing the allegation during a briefing in Maiduguri, the Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Ibrahim Attahiru, said the Army conducted cordon operation in the Pompori area of Maiduguri in search of high-profile Boko Haram insurgents.
“Our actions, like previous successful exercises, were based on intelligent reports made available to the military and never intended to tarnish the image of the UN body, an agency we so much respect and hold in higher esteem,” he said.
Mr Attahiru, a major general, further clarified the Army only acted on intelligence reports in combing some areas of Maiduguri Metropolis.
He acknowledged the search included a house purported to accommodate some staff of an international humanitarian organisation.
He added that, “The cordon and search operation was not specifically targeted at the UN facility, but rather done in the general area of operation. About 30 houses were searched during the exercise and no arrests were made.
“The military recorded significant success in various operations conducted in the theatre in the past two weeks. For instance, our troops under the Operation LAFIYA DOLE neutralized several Boko Haram insurgents, made arrests and discovered a bomb making factory.”
In Abuja, the Director Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, John Enenche, has also denied the alleged invasion of UN house in Maiduguri.
“The house being referred to as United Nations building, is an unmarked accommodation without any sign that it was occupied by United Nations.
“Notwithstanding, the search operation was conducted peacefully at the premises, when the troops were allowed into it, just like other buildings,” he clarified.
He further maintained that Nigerian Army’s relationship with the UN officials in the northeast “has been cordial, aimed at working towards a more secured world in general and Nigeria in particular, which will be sustained.
“Thus, everything will be done by the Nigerian Military to ensure that United Nations activities and interests are given adequate protection and encouragement.”