The United Nations has condemned deadly attacks targeting civilians in Konduga, Banki and Ngala areas of Borno State in conflict-struck north-east Nigeria.
At least 45 civilians have been killed and many more injured in four separate attacks in recent weeks, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.
Three of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.
Kallon said the attacks indicated a surge in brutal violence of the Boko Haram insurgency now in its eighth year.
“Civilians are routinely killed in direct and indiscriminate attacks in the north-east of Nigeria,” said Kallon.
“This conflict, with all its brutality and horrors, is reaching new lows, with more than 80 children used as human bombs in 2017 alone. I call upon all parties to the conflict to respect human life and dignity.”
In the latest attack on September 18 in Konduga, some 28 kilometres southeast of the capital Maiduguri, three suicide bombers consecutively detonated explosive devices strapped to their bodies in Mashemari village, killing 13 and injuring many more.
Previous attacks in Banki and Ngala targeted camps for internally displaced persons and Nigerian refugees returning home.
The previous Konduga attack in August targeted a market in the town.
“The frequency of the attacks is on the rise and ‘softer’ targets, such as camps for displaced persons, are being identified by insurgents. This is an extremely worrying trend. While the Government of Nigeria has made significant progress in many locations in the north-east, allowing thousands of people to return home, there is more to be done. I urge the Government of Nigeria to increase efforts to protect civilians,” added Kallon.
Ongoing humanitarian response in the north east focuses on protecting civilians.
An estimated 8.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the most affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
Women, children and men face grave human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, said the UN agency.
Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and girls have been abducted and children have been used as so-called “suicide” bombers.