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UNICEF Suspends Aid to Northern Nigeria After Attack on Convoy

  • VOA News

FILE - Internally displaced persons wait to be served with food at Dikwa camp, in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, Feb. 2, 2016.

FILE - Internally displaced persons wait to be served with food at Dikwa camp, in northeast Nigeria's Borno state, Feb. 2, 2016.

The United Nations says it is suspending humanitarian assistance missions to Nigeria's Borno state pending a security review, after an aid convoy was ambushed by unidentified attackers Thursday in northern Nigeria.

The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, says an employee and a contractor were injured in the attack and are being treated at a local hospital. It did not elaborate.

The convoy was in Borno state, carrying humanitarian aid from the town of Bama to Maiduguri, in the heart of the area where the militant group Boko Haram operates. In a statement, UNICEF says the assistance was "desperately needed."

"This was not only an attack on humanitarian workers. It is an attack on people who most need the assistance and aid that these workers were bringing," the statement continued.

The charity Doctors Without Borders warned this week that more than 500,000 people in Borno state urgently need emergency assistance.

It said 15,000 people in the town of Banki have been isolated by Boko Haram violence and depend entirely on humanitarian aid. A Doctors Without Borders representative said most Banki residents have been in hiding for more than a year because of Boko Haram violence.

Months of food shortages have resulted in a catastrophic health situation, with very high levels of malnutrition, particularly among small children.

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