International humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has pulled out of its medical operations in Rann, Nigeria, following last week’s violent attack on humanitarian aid workers.
The group said it evacuated 22 national and international staff following the deaths of at least four aid workers killed during an attack by Boko Haram militants in volatile Borno State in the country’s northeast. The attackers, armed with automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades and gun trucks, targeted a military base with some 55,000 internally displaced persons living in a nearby camp.
The victims, all Nigerians, worked for or with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF, and an International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) affiliate. A fifth person was abducted.
“We are outraged and saddened at the killings of two of our colleagues in an attack by Boko Haram in North East Nigeria,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. “They represented the best in us in assisting displaced civilians. We will miss them.”
The MSF aid workers joined the UN in pulling back from Rann, where they served the IDP camp. “Leaving our patients, which include 60 children currently enrolled in our nutrition program, 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.
The MSF staff treated nine injured people before being forced back, and said it remained unclear how many people were killed or injured.
Dozens of people died at Rann last year when the Nigerian military accidentally bombed the camp site.
Image: ICRC file