Nigerian army accuses aid agency of helping terrorists
An international aid agency has been shut down in Nigeria after army bosses accused it of “aiding and abetting” terrorists in the country’s war-torn northeast region.
Military spokesman Ado Isa said Action Against Hunger gave food and drugs to Boko Haram fighters, despite several warnings from the army not to do so.
The army declared the NGO “persona non grata” claiming it had credible evidence from its troops that the charity did not heed its orders.
“The subversive and (sic) actions of the NGO Action Against Hunger persisted despite several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities,” Isa said in a statement on Thursday.
However, Action Against Hunger said it was given no notice or reason before the closure of its office in the Maiduguri capital of Borno state, the epicenter of deadly Boko Haram attacks.
A statement by the NGO said it focuses on delivering “neutral, impartial and independent” aid to vulnerable groups, especially women and children, and the military’s actions jeopardize its efforts and it will appeal the decision.
“Action Against Hunger calls on the competent authorities to let us continue our work in the region,” the agency said.
The charity did not address the allegations and said it would make no further comment in a statement posted on its website.
Nigeria’s army has been previously embroiled in disputes with NGOs working in the country’s troubled northeast, where terrorist networks continue to stage deadly attacks, accusing them of undermining efforts to fight terrorism.
UNICEF activities were briefly suspended by the military last December over allegations its staff were training terrorists in the region.
The Nigerian government and the army also accused Amnesty International Nigeria of fabricating allegations of human rights violations against its troops in the northeast. Both NGOs have denied the allegations.
Boko Haram militants have been fighting for more than a decade in Nigeria’s north east. They have targeted communities, and bombed public places such as markets and places of worship.
The military has also suffered casualties, despite claims by the Nigerian government that the insurgent group has been largely defeated.