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JUST IN: Also, UN confirms withdrawal of humanitarian aid workers from Rann

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The United Nations has confirmed that at least eight Nigerian security personnel were killed in a Thursday night deadly attack on Rann, Kala Balge local government area of Borno State.

The UN in a statement by Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General António Guterres, also confirmed the withdrawal of aid workers from the community.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, announced on Friday that it has suspended its medical activities in Rann, Kala Balge local government area of Borno state following Thursday’s violent attack on humanitarian workers by suspected members of Boko Haram.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (UN-OCHA) had earlier disclosed that four of its personnel were killed while a female nurse still working with ICRC was abducted by the Boko Haram.

In a statement emailed to Daily Correspondents late Friday evening, by Mr.  Maro Verli, its field communication manager in Abuja, he quoted Kerri Ann Kelly who is the MSF Emergency Coordinator in Nigeria, as saying that “40,000 people living in Rann were relying almost entirely on MSF’s services to access healthcare,” but regretted that “leaving our patients, which include 60 children currently enrolled in our nutrition programme, without medical assistance, is an extremely painful decision.”

Mr Kelly however said that the MSF will continue to evaluate how the situation evolves and we will return as soon as the conditions allow.

Read MSF statement below:

Following a violent attack in Rann, Borno state, on Thursday 1 March, Médecins Sans Frontières  (MSF) 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 but before leaving, MSF medical staff treated 9 wounded patients.

The 40,000 people living in Rann were relying almost entirely on MSF’s services to access healthcare.

“Leaving our patients, which 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 we 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 is now considerably reduced.”

MSF teams have been providing medical care to the 40,000 people in Rann, since January 2017.

Mobile teams delivered assistance on a regular basis, and a permanent medical team has been based in Rann since September 2017. The people in Rann are extremely vulnerable, many have sought shelter there after fleeing their homes. MSF has mainly been treating people for malaria, malnutrition and illnesses linked to poor living conditions.

The town was cut off from the outside world during the months of the rainy season and no food or aid supplies were brought in during this time. We estimate that the mortality rate in children under five in Rann was twice that of the emergency threshold between May and November 2017.

 

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