ISWAP Executes Aid Workers in Nigeria

  • President Buhari condemned the attack saying that his government will ensure that the militants are wiped out.
  • The group had recently warned of attacks on civilians who work for the international aid organizations and those who offer them help.
  • Insecurity has remained a big challenge for humanitarian workers in the country who play a major role in areas greatly affected by violence in the country.

At least five aid workers have been executed by Islamic State militants in Nigeria. The five are said to have worked with four different aid groups, namely, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, State Emergency Management Agency, and International Rescue Committee.

Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation’s head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.

“This unjustifiable killing reflects the immense difficulty faced by independent and impartial humanitarian actors, and the violence we are exposed to every day to fulfill our mission,” Action Against Hunger (ACF) said. The group added that it received the news with grief. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) denounced the inhumane attack, and called for the release of their remains.

On Wednesday, the militant group released a video showing the execution of the workers who were abducted on June 8, in Borno state, in the northern part of the country. The video footage showed the five hostages kneeling in front of five armed, hooded men, who later shot them. It is alleged that the militants had earlier demanded a ransom of $500,000.

According to the United Nations, the aid workers were kidnapped when travelling between Monguno and the state capital, Maiduguri, as they went to supply medical and food aid to the vulnerable amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN’s resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said the workers were very committed as he condemned attacks that target aid workers and those assisting them. In a tweet, Kallon said:

“I am utterly horrified by the gruesome killing of our colleagues. We repeatedly called for such blatant violation of [international humanitarian law] to never happen again. Yet, it does. I call on all armed parties to stop targeting aid workers and civilians.”

President Muhammadu Buhari sent his heartfelt condolences to the aid groups and the families of the slain aid workers. Buhari condemned the attack, saying that his government will ensure that the militants are wiped out.

“Security agencies in the state will work closely with their organizations to implement measures to ensure no such kidnapping of staff occurs again,” said a statement from the presidency.

Insecurity has remained a big challenge for humanitarian workers in the country who play a major role in areas greatly affected by violence in the country. A number of the workers have been kidnapped and killed by militants active in the country.

The Islamic State in West Africa or Islamic State’s West Africa Province (abbreviated as ISWA or ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād “Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad”) and commonly known as Boko Haramuntil March 2015, is a jihadist terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.

Last year, six aid workers were kidnapped by the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP). Five of them were executed while one is still being held hostage. The group had recently warned of attacks on civilians who work for the international aid organizations and those who offer them help.

ISWAP has, in recent years, intensified its attacks against aid workers. However, most of the women and children who are taken hostage are turned into sex slaves and suicide bombers. ISWAP is a splinter group of Boko Haram, which broke away from it in 2016.  Boko Haram and its splinter group have repeatedly attacked military bases, and also targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.

Boko Haram began its insurgency in 2009, and has become the dominant jihadist group in the region. The violence has since spread to neighboring countries, and has displaced more than 2.2 million people across Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.

The group has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions, and created one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. The militant groups have shown no signs of slowing down on the attacks, and this has prompted a regional military coalition against the militants.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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