UN Flight Attacked, Suspends Humanitarian Service

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The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) helicopter on Thursday came under fire in Borno.

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It was reported that the UNHAS chopper was hit by bullets in Damasak town but was able to return to Maiduguri safely.

The UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said in a statement on Saturday, “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 suspension is for an initial period of one week, during which “we will review the situation,” said Kallon.

“During this period, life-saving medical and security evacuations will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the authorisation of the Coordinator.” He added.

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