Gunmen attack humanitarian facilities in northern Nigeria

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(dpa) – Gunmen have attacked humanitarian aid facilities and a local hospital in a northern Nigerian town, aid agencies and community leaders said on Sunday.

Local media reported that at least six people were killed in the attack.

Armed men rode into the town of Damasak in Borno state on the backs of trucks and motorcycles on Saturday. They attacked the compounds of relief agencies, looting the facilities and setting them on fire, the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement.

“Yesterday’s brutal attack jeopardized our work and threatened the lives of many aid workers,” said by Eric Batonon, Norwegian Refugee Council Country Director in Nigeria.

“Thankfully our five staff staying in Damasak town escaped unharmed. However, the perpetrators succeeded in setting our guesthouse ablaze and destroying lifesaving relief supplies, including vehicles used to deliver aid,” Batonon said.

“Besides the humanitarian facilities, they also attacked a police station and a hospital where they took away medical supplies,” said Musa Kolo, a local community member.

The attackers are believed to have retreated into their forest with looted equipment and food, said Kolo.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs condemned the attacks, saying the violence disrupted aid to 8,800 internally displaced people and another 76,000 people reliant on humanitarian support.

The town of Damasak has been targeted several times in recent years. Last month, gunmen attacked the town for four days, forcing residents to flee.

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