Two members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) were among the five humanitarian aid workers who have been killed execution-style by a faction linked to Boko Haram.
The two EYN members were Ishaku Yakubu and Luka Filibus. Yakubu “lived with his widowed mother in Monguno, is from Kautikari, Chibok LGA [Local Government Area]. He left behind a wife and two children,” reported Zakariya Musa, head of EYN Media. Filibus was from Agapalawa in the Gwoza Local Government Area, and his parents “are living in one of the IDP camps [for internally displaced people] managed by EYN in Maiduguri,” Musa said by email.
The humanitarian workers were abducted in June while traveling on a main route from the northern town of Monguno to Maiduguri, the capital city of Nigeria’s Borno State. Musa reported that “the Nigerian government identified the victims as employees of the country's State Emergency Management Agency as well as international aid organizations Action Against Hunger, International Rescue Committee, and Rich International.”
The killing of the aid workers has gained international attention and has been condemned by a leading representative of the United Nations in Nigeria. Edward Kallon, humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a July 22 statement:
“I am utterly shocked and horrified by the gruesome killing of some of our colleagues and partners by non-state armed groups in Borno State. My most heartfelt condolences go to their loved ones, families, friends and co-workers. They were committed humanitarians who devoted their lives to helping vulnerable people and communities in an area heavily affected by violence....
“I strongly condemn all violence targeting aid workers and the civilians they are assisting. I am also troubled by the number of illegal vehicular checkpoints set up by non state armed groups along main supply routes. These checkpoints disrupt the delivery of lifesaving assistance and heighten the risks for civilians of being abducted, killed or injured, with aid workers increasingly being singled out.
“This is tragically not the first killing of kidnapped aid workers. We have repeatedly called for such devastating fate and blatant violation of international humanitarian law to never happen again. And yet, it does. I implore all armed parties to step up to their responsibilities and stop targeting aid workers and civilians.”
Musa’s report noted that other residents of the IDP camp in Maiduguri also have been affected by abductions. He told of an IDP family whom he knows personally, having come from the same village of Gavva in the Gwoza area. The 75-year-old Jatau Ngwadva Ndarva, who is visually impaired, is “in total devastation over his daughter Lami and niece Renate Bitrus, who were kidnapped on their farm outside Maiduguri,” Musa wrote. “Renate’s grandfather was in the hands of Boko Haram for about three years before being rescued. Renate is a name-sake of the late Sister Renate Muller, one of the Mission 21 missionaries from Germany who worked in my village of Gavva, behind the Mandara Mountains in Gwoza Local Government Area.”
Musa requested prayer. “As I write on these, more villages are being attacked, killed, kidnapped, and displaced in Chibok and Askira/ Uba areas in the southern Borno State. We are not safe. Continue praying as you have never prayed for us before.”