West and Central Africa: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (7– 13 May 2019)
SIX KILLED IN CHURCH ATTACK
Armed men on 12 May attacked a church in the northern Dablo town in Centre-Nord region, killing six people including the church’s priest. The raiders also burned down a shop and destroyed a health centre. It was the third church attack in Burkina Faso since April. The Government and UN Secretary-General condemned the raid. The attack came three days after French forces freed two French tourists and two other hostages in northern Burkina Faso. The French nationals were abducted in neighbouring Benin on 1 May. Burkina Faso is grappling with a worsening spate of armed attacks and insecurity that have so far displaced more than 160,000 people and sparked an unprecedented humanitarian emergency.
EBOLA RESPONSE SEVERELY HAMPERED BY INSECURITY
WHO on 9 May warned that commitment by all armed groups to cease attacks was required to ensure the current Ebola outbreak can successfully be contained to the DRC’s eastern Ituri and North Kivu provinces. A series of violent incidents in recent days have caused disruptions in the response. On 3 May, a burial team was attacked in Katwa area. In Butembo, response operations were repeatedly halted due to armed attacks in the area in early May. Attacks on health teams and treatment centres are prevalent, hampering proper disease surveillance, treatment and vaccination, WHO warned. The violent attacks also sow fear, perpetuate mistrust and compound the challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers.
ATTACKERS TORCH NGO-HIRED VEHICLES
Armed attackers on 4 May torched two vehicles hired by an aid NGO in a locality in Douentza district in central Mali where the NGO workers were on a mission. The aid workers managed to return safely to their base. The incident was the first of its kind in Mopti region this year. Attacks on aid workers and their premises are common in northern and central Mali where armed groups operate.
REFUGEE CAMP ATTACKED
On 7 May, armed raiders attacked the Tabareybarey refugee camp in the western Tillaberi region. They stole an ambulance and a vehicle belonging to an aid NGO. The incident forced humanitarian organizations to suspend missions to Tillaberi and Ouallam areas. A week earlier, MSF suspended work in Tillaberi after armed attackers stole two vehicles. Armed raids are frequent in Niger’s western Tahoua and Tillaberi regions. On 3 May, five people were killed when their vehicle hit an IED in a locality in Tillaberi. It was the second such attack in two weeks.
UN WARNS SAHEL CRISIS WORSENING
A fire outbreak on 27 April in two camps in Nigeria’s north-eastern Monguno locality left around 370 displaced people homeless. The fire destroyed food and utensils and other property. Aid groups have mobilised assistance to the affected families. Fire outbreaks are common in IDP camps during the dry season. In certain camps, overcrowding has increased fire outbreak risk.