Nigeria army shuts aid group ‘for feeding jihadists’

Nigeria’s army has closed down the activities of an international aid organisation, which it accuses of aiding Boko Haram militants in the north-east of the country.

It says Action Against Hunger has been supplying the Islamist insurgents with food and drugs.

The non-governmental organisation (NGO) has denied the allegation, saying that soldiers closed down its office on Thursday in Maiduguri, the main city of north-eastern Borno state, without prior notice.

“Action Against Hunger has had to halt the assistance it is providing to millions of people in Maiduguri, Monguno and Damasak with immediate effect,” the group said in a statement.

“This puts into jeopardy the life-saving assistance Action Against Hunger is providing to the most vulnerable people in the region.”

The allegation made by the army is serious. It is the first time it has explicitly named an aid organisation for breaching security and sabotaging the army’s counter-terrorism operations in the region.

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

The army said it had obtained “credible intelligence” that backed up its allegations.

Boko Haram militants have waged a 10-year-long insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria, which has also affected neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and more than two million have fled their homes during the conflict.

The group has become notorious for kidnapping schoolchildren and attracted global media attention in 2014 following the abduction of more than 200 girls from a school in the town of Chibok, in Borno, the state where the militant group has been most active.

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