File picture. Men in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano. Image Credit: AFP

Kano: Militants linked to Daesh attacked a UN base and overran a humanitarian hub in northeastern Nigeria on Monday, trapping 25 aid workers, security and humanitarian sources said.

Scores of Daesh-linked ISWAP fighters invaded the town of Dikwa, dislodging troops from the military base and torching the UN hub.

“The ISWAP terrorists launched simultaneous attacks on the super camp (military base) and the UN humanitarian hub,” the military source said.

“The humanitarian hub has been completely burnt by the militants but so far no staff has been affected,” the humanitarian source said on condition of anonymity.

“We have 25 staff sheltering in the bunker which is under siege by the militants.”

Military reinforcements deployed from the town of Marte, 40 kilometres away, to help repel the attackers, the military source said.

“Two fighter jets and a helicopter gunship are providing aerial support with the primary aim of clearing the terrorists from the burnt humanitarian hub.”

The latest assault comes three years to the day after ISWAP fighters attacked a UN humanitarian hub in the town of Rann on March 1, 2018, killing three aid staff and abducting a female worker.

Northeastern Nigeria has been plagued by extremist violence since Boko Haram launched a Islamist insurgency in 2019.

The Daesh-affiliated ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and has since become the biggest extremist threat in Nigeria.

More than 36,000 people have been killed and two million fled their homes since the start of the conflict.

On Friday ISWAP fighters in trucks fitted with machine guns raided Dikwa, sending residents fleeing.

The town, 90 kilometres from the Borno State capital Maiduguri, is home to more than 130,000 people, including 75,000 who had already fled from other parts of the region and were living in camps where they rely on food handouts from aid agencies.