Terrorism and military intervention are forcing aid groups to leave Nigeria

A Mercy Corps operation in Nigeria. Photo credit: Tom Saater/Mercy Corps
A Mercy Corps operation in Nigeria. Photo credit: Tom Saater/Mercy Corps

International aid and service groups are caught in the crossfire of the brutal, decade-long war between Nigeria’s military and the Boko Haram terrorist organization.

To date, at least 37 aid workers have been killed in the conflict.

While aid workers in Northern Nigeria are predictably targeted by Boko Haram, they are also heavily criticized and sometimes banned by the military, which has taken to accusing them of harboring terrorists.

Mercy Corps, UNICEF, and Action Against Hunger have all been targeted, in the midst of a humanitarian crisis brought on by the conflict — and apparently beyond the capacity of the government itself to handle.

Mercy Corps has since shut down its operations in parts of Nigeria worst hit by the terrorist conflict, after the Nigerian military forced its offices to close in those regions.

Action Against Hunger has also shut down its operations due to military closure of its offices.

Some aid workers and human rights activists suggest that the real reason the Nigerian military is persecuting the aid groups is because they have shone a light on the less than savory tactics used by the military itself, include detention and killing of civilians, and withholding food from them.

Sources: Quartz, Reuters, This Day (Nigeria)

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