UN suspends aid in Nigeria after attack

A medical officer hands out aid in Nigeria (Reuters)
A medical officer hands out aid in Nigeria (Reuters)

The United Nations has temporarily suspended aid deliveries in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, the former stronghold of jihadists Boko Haram, after a humanitarian convoy was attacked, the UN children's agency UNICEF says.

UNICEF said in a statement unknown assailants attacked the convoy on Thursday as it returned to Maiduguri from delivering aid in Bama, injuring a UNICEF employee and an International Organisation for Migration contractor.

"The United Nations has temporarily suspended humanitarian assistance missions pending review of the security situation," it said.

Nigerian army spokesman Sani Usman said troops were escorting the humanitarian convoy when it was attacked by "suspected remnants of Boko Haram" and that two soldiers and three civilians were wounded.

Nearly a quarter of a million children in Borno suffer from life-threatening malnourishment and around one in five would die if they did not receive treatment, UNICEF said this month.

Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Wednesday severely malnourished children were dying in large numbers in northeast Nigeria, where food supplies were close to running out.

By 2014 Boko Haram controlled territory nearly the size of Belgium in northeast Nigeria until most of it was recaptured last year by the Nigerian army and troops from neighbouring countries.

More than 15,000 people have been killed and at least two million displaced by Boko Haram's insurgency in Nigeria. The group has carried out suicide bombings in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.