Boko Haram: Military seals NGO office, plans more clampdown

The Nigerian Army may seal more offices of  non-governmental organisations in the North-East over alleged supports for the Boko Haram insurgents.

The military had on Wednesday sealed the Maiduguri office of the Action Against Hunger, as part of efforts to clamp down on  some NGOs.

In a statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Isa Ado, the army alleged sabotage of the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East by the organisation.

The statement said, “The Theatre Command Operation Lafia Dole  has observed with utter disappointment and concern the notorious activities of some non-governmental organisations  working in the North-East.

“The subversive actions of the NGO, Action Against Hunger, persisted despite several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities.

“The TC-OPLD had on many occasions raised the alarm over the unwholesome practices of some NGOs and expressed same position during meetings with the NGOs operating in the North-East  theatre of operation.

“The command has obtained several credible intelligence indicting AAH as one of  those NGOs operating in the NE that is notorious for supplying food and drugs to the criminals in the area.

“Members of the public are enjoined to continue to give credible information on the activities of the marauders/criminals and their supporters in the NE Theatre of operation.”

Soldiers had on Wednesday laid siege to the Maiduguri office of AAH, chasing out all the staff and leaving a detachment of soldiers to ensure no operation was held on the premises.

A senior military officer said, “Many of these NGOs are giving supports to the terrorist group and are working on the elongation of the war.”

Efforts to get the reaction of Moshood Raimi, the Senior Information Management Officer of Nigeria INGO Forum – the body coordinating the activities of international NGOs – were unsuccessful as his phone was switched off.

An e-mail to him indicated that he was out of office on vacation.

But AFP reported on Thursday that the army shut down the office of Action Against Hunger after six employees of the organisation were taken hostage by Jihadists.

“They came and asked everyone in the building to leave. They said it was an order from above,” a staff member from the aid agency told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

“We all evacuated the office (on Wednesday). They have been guarding the building since,” the official said.