Boko Haram's Bullet Hits UN Helicopter In Borno State. Consequently, UN Suspends All Humanitarian Air Service In North East

By Sadiq Abubakar, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

Following an attack by Boko haram insurgents to a helicopter belonging to the United Nations Air Service at Damasak Village in Borno State, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon on Saturday suspended all Humanitarian Air services in the northeast region.

This was stated in a statement signed by the coordinator, sent to all the UN agencies in Maiduguri and made available to The Nigerian Voice.

The statement added that investigations are on to establish facts on the incident as one of the helicopters sustained bullet holes.

Read the Statement below:
Dear Colleagues,
As some of you are aware, a serious incident involving UNHAS took place yesterday (2 June 2020). Although we are still establishing the facts surrounding the incident, we know that one of the helicopters sustained bullet holes to the body of the aircraft during its approach to Damasak.

The helicopter was able to turn around and safely return to Maiduguri. Fortunately, the crew members were not hurt, and there were no passengers on board.

However, recognizing the seriousness of the incident, and in consultation with UNDSS and UNHAS/WFP, I am putting in place, with immediate effect, a pause on UNHAS rotary operations in the northeast, in order to allow us to engage with government partners and conduct new risk assessments for each helicopter location to ensure that we have taken all the possible mitigation measures.

The pause will be for an initial period of one week, at which time we will review the situation. During this period, life-saving medical and security evacuations will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the authorisation of the Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator/Designated Official in consultation with the WFP Country Director.