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Explosive have killed 789 civilians, injured 1,356 others in North East – UN

The United Nations says 789 persons have been killed by explosives in the ongoing insurgency in the North East. Speaking during the Internat...


The United Nations says 789 persons have been killed by explosives in the ongoing insurgency in the North East.


Speaking during the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action event in Nigeria, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale said for Borno, Adamawa, Yobe (BAY) States, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) collated 1,532 incidents involving explosive hazards from January 2016 to January 2022 involving more than 10,000 causalities out of which 1,356 civilians were injured and 789 killed.


He said: “In Northeast Nigeria, explosive ordnance in their different forms continue to represent an immediate, grave and additional threat to already suffering populations. The use of indiscriminating improvised mines kills, maims and constitutes an obstacle to the basic right of safe freedom of movement.


“These devices are also an obstacle to early recovery and development effort for the BAY states.”


He said, “Mines and other explosives are an everyday threat to civilian populations. We particularly condemn the use of improvised mines which kill and maim without discrimination. It is important to remind that such devices go against international humanitarian law. Restriction of safe freedom of movement, endangered everyday life, killing and maiming indiscriminately, purposely targeting civilians, and causing unnecessary suffering is not acceptable. Populations shall be protected against such threats.”


He revealed that “With donors’ support, and under the coordination of the United Nations, especially through UNMAS, action is already taken by humanitarian partners such as the Youth Awakens Foundation, Danish Refugee Council and Mine Advisory Group to mitigate the effects of this threat through risk education and mapping of contaminated lands.”


He said: “I am pleased to stress that since January 2019, Mine Action organisations have provided critical life-saving information to mitigate the risk by Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) for more than 1.2 million (including almost 60% girls and boys) conflict-affected communities, IDPs in camps, host communities, refugees and returnees.


“Also, life-saving assistance was provided to 999 humanitarian workers of more than 1032 UN agencies, International and National NGOs and Civil Society Organisations as well as stakeholders (government officials, service providers and caregivers) through explosive ordnance awareness to protect them during their travel and work.


“A lot has been accomplished. However, these efforts must be sustained. The 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview process has identified 1.2 million people immediately at risk and in need for life-saving assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.


“Again with donor’ support, the Humanitarian Response Plan will target 407,000 individuals from all genders and ages to facilitate a decisive lifesaving risk education, mapping and marking of hazardous areas, identification of survivors and affected communities across BAY States”.


He, however, noted that full integration of Mine Action within humanitarian, early recovery and development strategies and plans is essential to effectively and efficiently protect communities.


He said, “Be reassured that as the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, I pay the utmost attention to this necessary coordination and thank UNMAS for their action. I also praise all endeavours to ensure that our actions are developed and coordinated in close cooperation with Nigerian authorities and institutions.


The humanitarian and development community appreciates the relentless actions borne by the Nigerian security forces to clear the roads from improvised mines and to dispose of Explosive Remnants of War.”


He revealed that the UN was ready to collaborate with the federal government to extend the demining to the North West with a record of a growing crisis in the region.


Schmale said, “The United Nations, especially through UNMAS, are more than willing to provide technical advice and coordination support for the Government of Nigeria to fulfil this objective.”

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