6 March 2014 – The head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) has strongly condemned the latest wave of “unspeakable” violence in Nigeria and demanded an end to attacks targeting innocent civilians.
Some 45 children – between the ages of 13 and 17 – were killed in February in the attack by unidentified gunmen at a Federal Government College in Nigeria.
“This unprecedented cycle of violence must stop. The people of Nigeria deserve to live in peace and security,” declared Said Djinnit in a statement issued by UNOWA, in which he deplored the killing over the weekend of some 80 people by unidentified armed groups in Maiduguri, Mainok and Mafa villages in Borno state.
Borno, along with Nigeria’s northern states of Adamawa and Yobe, have been under states of emergency since May 2013 as the army fights Islamist Boko Haram rebels. The region has been prone to attacks by Islamic militants who have notoriously targeted civilians, including students and worshippers, politicians, members of Government institutions and foreign nationals.
The continuing violence has displaced thousands of people, mainly to neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.
One week ago, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) strongly condemned the brutal slaying of dozens of students in an attack on the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi in Yobe state, and voiced the hope that the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.
In his statement on the more renewed violence, Mr. Djinnit, who is also Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, said the recent attacks – a series of deadly car bombings, according to media reports – which resulted in the death of more than 80 people, “are further unspeakable violence against innocent civilians who have been regularly targeted by indiscriminate terrorist attacks.”
Expressing condolences to the bereaved families and to the people and the Government of Nigeria, he reiterated the need to protect civilians and expressed the hope that the perpetrators of the attacks will be brought to justice.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has urged the Nigerian Government to do more to provide security and protection to civilians, especially in areas prone to attacks and where a state of emergency has been proclaimed.
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