from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – AN international human rights agency that has been forced to shut down operations northeast of Nigeria has denied allegations of supporting the Boko Haram terror group.
The Nigerian Army last week forced the Action Against Hunger, the United States-headquartered organisation, to close its main offices in the crisis-torn states of Borno and Yobe.
“Action Against Hunger strongly rejects the accusation of ‘aiding and abetting’ a terrorist organisation,” the non-governmental organisation (NGO) stated.
It stated it was working “productively” with the Nigerian authorities to try and resolve the situation.
“Action Against Hunger stands ready to support any investigation, and will work tirelessly with the Nigerian authorities to allay any concerns they may have about our operations in the region.”
The organisation insisted it delivered neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian aid to millions of people in Borno and Yobe by providing basic services to the most vulnerable people, especially women and children.
Thus, the decision to suspend its operations had put into jeopardy the vital assistance to millions affected by the Boko Haram conflict.
“We do not have more comments at this stage,” said a spokesperson.
The Nigerian Army has previously clashed with human rights organisations in the northeast. Rights groups accuse the army of violations during the anti-terror operations while the military alleges a smear campaign against uniformed forces.
– CAJ News