Aid convoy attacked

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Six people are missing following an attack on an aid convoy in north-east Nigeria, an international aid organisation said with sources stating it was carried out by Islamist insurgents who abducted survivors.

Action Against Hunger in a statement said a staff member, two drivers and three other health workers are missing after Thursday’s attack on a convoy near Damasak in Borno in which one driver was killed.

The nationality and other details of those kidnapped was not immediately clear.

The incident raises concerns about targeting of humanitarian staff in the region’s decade-long insurgency, triggered by Boko Haram militants.

“We are saddened by this tragic incident as these colleagues are dedicated to providing lifesaving assistance to individuals and families,” Action Against Hunger said.

The latest attack comes nine months after Islamic State’s West Africa branch executed a Red Cross aid worke kidnapped from another town in north-eastern Nigeria.

Around 30,000 people have been killed in the insurgency, during which militant group Boko Haram has sought to create an Islamic caliphate. More than two million people have fled their homes.

The United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator, Edward Kallon, was “deeply disturbed by reports of an incident involving aid workers” and was concerned about their safety.

“These acts of violence affect the individuals, families, and communities we support and deprive vulnerable people of vital services,” he said.

Kallon said 7.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance as a result of the insurgency.

Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land about the size of Belgium until early 2015 but was pushed out by troops from Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Since then the group continues attacks – primarily suicide bombings, gun raids and kidnapping for ransom.

Islamic State West Africa Province, a splinter faction which split from Boko Haram in 2016, has carried out a series of attacks on military bases over the last year.