President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned a Boko Haram attack on a United Nations (UN) helicopter in Borno State.
The attack occurred when Boko Haram fighters attacked Damasak on Thursday, causing the death of two civilians including a 5-year-old, the UN said on Saturday.
The pilots were, however, able to fly the helicopter back to Maiduguri, about 150km away.
“A UN Humanitarian Air Service helicopter was hit by bullets during the attack. No aid workers were on board at the time and crew members are all safe,” the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon, said in a statement.
“This latest cowardly attack on the UN humanitarian helicopter is yet another desperate rear guard action by the Boko Haram terrorists who have been under intense pressure from the Nigerian military,” Mr Buhari said, on Sunday, according to a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, Mr Buhari condemned “the dastardly attack.”
“Let me reassure the international community and Nigerians that this latest cowardly attack on a UN helicopter which claimed the lives of two people, including a five year old baby, would not go without severe consequences.
“Boko Haram terrorists are clearly on the back foot and their increasing attacks on innocent civilians, including UN humanitarian workers, was part of their desperation to prove that they are strong in order to cover up their dwindling fortunes.”
Mr Buhari said, “the security of foreigners and Nigerians remain the top priority of this administration, and we shall leave no stone unturned until we eliminate these remorseless enemies of humanity.”
He also underscored the need for all humanitarian and other aid workers in the region to, at all times, properly coordinate movements — air or land, with the Theatre Commander and other military authorities.
The latest attack on a UN asset occurs five months after a separate attack on another UN facility in Borno.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack on the UN facility in Ngala, a border town in Borno in January.
“An entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles UN agencies rely on for movement and aid delivery,” Mr Kallon had said of the January attack.
The Boko Haram, which seeks an Islamic caliphate in Northern Nigeria, has been able to carry out attacks on civilian and military facilities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe despite the efforts of security agencies.
The Boko Haram insurgency has killed over 30,000 people since 2009 and displaced millions of others, mainly in North-east Nigeria.