Unidentified gunmen assaulted a UN humanitarian aid facility in Ngala (Borno state) on Saturday, January 18. Initial reports indicate that the attackers used rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and other heavy weapons during the attack. Sections of the facility were set on fire, along with multiple vehicles and supplies. At least one soldier and four attackers were killed before security forces were able to repel the militants. Unconfirmed witness reports claim that a number of displaced people waiting for aid at the facility also died. According to the UN, five aid workers were safely evacuated from the area. On Monday, January 20, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria released a statement condemning the attack and warned that it will significantly disrupt assistance to vulnerable members of the population in the region.
Similar attacks targeting international aid facilities are possible in Borno state over the near term.
The northeastern region of Nigeria (i.e. the states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa) are highly susceptible to attacks by Islamist militants, including from Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Although the Nigerian military forces have pushed insurgents back from much of their previously claimed territory, attacks have been on the rise since June 2017.
Individuals in Borno state are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Nigeria remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.