Another Plateau aid worker abducted by Boko Haram

3 min read
Abducted Jennifer Ukambong Samuel

Abducted ALIMA worker, Jennifer Ukambong

One of the aid workers abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeast on Sunday is said to be from Plateau State.

Miss Jennifer Ukambong Samuel is a staff of Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), an independent humanitarian medical nongovernmental organization providing medical care in emergency situations or medical catastrophes.

Ukambong was kidnapped along with her colleague identified as Miss Asabe, and other non-aid workers along Maiduguri-Monguno road in Borno State.

Though details of the incident and her identity are still sketchy, sources in Maiduguri say Ukambong hails from Plateau’s Bokkos Local Government Area in central Nigeria.

If confirmed, she will be the third Plateau aid worker to be captured by Boko Haram in three months.

Two young men from Mangu Local Government were captured and publicly exdcuted in October.

In the execution video, the group threatened to kill “infidels” beginning with “these Plateau Christians” – Mr. Lawrence Duna Dacighir and Godfrey Ali Shikagham.

Unconfirmed sources say another Plateau aid worker was kidnapped last three weeks in a remote Borno village.

Her whereabouts and that of miss Ukambong and her colleague are still unknown.

The abduction has received little media reportage particularly as no demand or official statement has been made by the concerned authorities.

When contacted, the US headquarters of ALIMA told MK news that it was not aware of the abduction.

At the moment we cannot confirm that ALIMA staff were abducted during the incident. We don’t have further comments,” says a reply to an email sent to its communications office.

One among many

Every month, there are series of abductions that go unreported, says a humanitarian worker in Borno.

Aid workers are more vulnerable to such attacks because of their news and economic value.

ALIMA workers in particular “have been abducted and killed several times” says our source.

But “this is not the case,” says an email query from the ALIMA US headquarters.

“ALIMA has never had any staff abducted nor killed since we have been present in Nigeria since 2016.”
MK however gathers that the NGO discussed the latest abduction in an emergency staff meeting held at its Monguno base shortly after it happened.

The affected staff were equally said to have sent SOS to officials during the attack, aside from an official report filed by survivors.

An official of the NGO in Nigeria somewhat confirmed the incident when contacted.

“I am not authorized to speak on this,” he said but did not categorically say whether it happened or not.

Other NGOs that have suffered similar fate in the past were said to be more ruthless in dealing with the situation.

“When there was a kidnap of a foreign contractor in Jigawa state very close to our place of work, MSF called for a general meeting with staff and stakeholders of the community and made it clear that they (MSF) don’t tolerate any act of terrorism and they don’t negotiate with terrorists and therefore any day any member of staff (foreign or local) gets kidnapped, they were closing down the project and never to return,” says an ex staff of MSF who now resides in the UK.

Nigerian authorities have yet to confirm the kidnap either.

Officials have repeatedly claimed to have decimated the insurgents but their attacks remain prominent.

Last Sunday, an attack similar to that of Monguno road was foiled by military Forces in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital but such does not always happen.

Several attacks on military bases have caused dozens of military casualties.

“Weapons not money”

A Journalist in Maiduguri attributes the vulnerability of the troops fighting the insurgents to the culpability of officials.

He said, “All they do is collect money in the name of armament but end up refurbishing obsolete equipment.

“When the soldiers complain, they give them stipends to shut them up.

“Meanwhile, they only pay them a paltry N1000 ($3USD) as allowance everyday.”

The country recently obtained some military equipment from the United States of America. Whether this helps in curbing the terrorists, only time will tell.

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