Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced shock and sadness today at reports of high numbers of civilians killed in Nigeria's Borno State following armed clashes there between Government forces and an extremist group.
Over the weekend, fighting between Nigeria's military and Islamic extremists caused the deaths of at least 185 people in the northeastern town of Baga, media sources have reported.
"The Secretary-General reiterates his firm conviction that no objective sought can justify this resort to violence," Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.
"He expresses his condolences to the bereaved families and calls on all extremist groups to cease their attacks."
Violence fuelled by sectarian motives is not uncommon in Nigeria where the Islamist group, Boko Haram, has frequently resorted to targeting civilians. Last year, over 100 people were killed when the radical group attacked churches in Kaduna State, drawing widespread condemnation from the UN.
Mr. Ban "underscores the need for all concerned to full respect human rights and safeguard the lives of civilians," the Secretary-General's statement added.