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07/13/2020 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – On Saturday, July 4th, suspected Islamic extremists opened fire on a United Nations (U.N.) aid helicopter in northeastern Nigeria, killing two civilians. This attack is an escalation of hostilities in the long-troubled region.

President Muhammadu Buhari blamed the attack on militants linked to the extremist group Boko Haram. The President warned on Sunday evening that “it would not go without severe consequences. Their (Boko Haram’s) increasing attacks on innocent civilians, including U.N. humanitarian workers, is part of their desperation to prove that they are strong to cover up their dwindling fortunes.” 

Security has been a concern for aid groups operating in northeastern Nigeria, where humanitarian workers have been kidnapped and killed amid Boko Haram’s decade-long insurgency. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Saturday attack. However, it does not come long after a splinter faction of Boko Haram warned civilians that they would target them if they helped humanitarian groups or the military.

Edward Kallon, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said that “the victims included a 5-year-old child. The crew members were not hurt, and there were no aid workers on board when bullets hit the helicopter in Borno state.”

Christians are often targeted by jihadist militants. Christians represent a large fraction of the 1.9 million people in northeastern Nigeria displaced by terrorists. Christians experience a lack of resources because of their faith, adding to the likelihood of starvation. According to the U.N. World Food Program, a total of 3 million people are facing hunger in Nigeria.

ICC is currently providing at least one month of food aid during the fight against COVID-19 for Christian families without access to much needed resources for survival.

 

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.