Following a violent attack in Rann (Borno State, Nigeria) on Thursday 1 March, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has suspended its medical activities in the town and evacuated 22 national and international staff. It is still unclear how many people were killed and injured in the attack, but before leaving, MSF medical staff treated nine wounded patients.
The 40,000 people living in Rann were relying almost entirely on MSF’s services to access healthcare. “Many of those living in Rann had sought shelter there after fleeing their homes and were already extremely vulnerable. As such, leaving our patients, who include 60 children currently enrolled in our nutrition programme, without medical assistance is an extremely painful decision” says Kerri Ann Kelly, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Nigeria.
“We will continue to evaluate how the situation evolves and will return as soon as the conditions allow. This latest attack is a stark reminder that it is the people in Borno who are paying the price of this ruthless conflict. They are trapped in a deadly cycle of violence and are heavily reliant on external assistance to survive. In Rann, this assistance is now considerably reduced.”
It would be recalled that the United Nations, UN, through Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the suspension of humanitarian services by the global body in the town.
The UN statement reads; “The Secretary-General condemns the killing of three aid workers last night in Rann town in Borno state, Nigeria, following an attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents. At least one other aid worker remains critically injured and another three are still missing. Eight members of the Nigerian national security forces were also killed.
“At the time of the attack, over 40 humanitarian workers were in Rann. All humanitarian personnel have been evacuated from Rann, and all humanitarian deliveries in the area have been temporarily suspended.
“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the affected aid workers, their families and to the Government and people of Nigeria. He wishes those injured a swift recovery. The Secretary-General recalls that attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law.
“Those responsible for these and other atrocities in Nigeria must be apprehended and prosecuted.
“The Secretary-General calls on all the parties to ensure at all times the protection of all civilians in Nigeria.