Nigeria: Thousands fleeing Rann attack seek refuge in Cameroon

Report
from Médecins Sans Frontières
Published on 16 Jan 2019 View Original

Several thousand people have fled Rann in northeast Nigeria following a violent attack on the town on 14 January. Yesterday, they started arriving by foot in Bodo, Cameroon, some seven kilometres across the border from Rann. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff have started providing assistance in Bodo. A team consisting of medical and logistical staff have been distributing food and water, and are providing emergency medical care.

People left in a state of shock – and with nothing

“Our team in Bodo estimates that some 8,000 people arrived yesterday and we expect several thousand more may come today,” said Hugues Robert, MSF Programme Manager for Nigeria. “We are preparing to assist 15,000 people with food, water and medical care over the coming days. Many people were in a state of shock and were clearly distressed by what they had witnessed. Now they have lost all that they have and need absolutely everything.”

Near Bodo, people have spent one night outdoors as there are no shelters. There are children and many breastfeeding and pregnant women among them.

Rann destroyed – once again

In Rann, many parts of the town were burnt, including houses and shelters. The market and food stores were also destroyed. The MSF warehouse, office and pharmacy were looted and burnt to the ground. Empty boxes of medical supplies were lying scattered on the ground outside.

MSF was able to evacuate one injured man on site, but most others fled to nearby Cameroon.

“This is truly devastating for the people in Rann”, says Robert, “They suffer endless violence. And now they have to get back on their feet once more. How many more times is this possible? The people of Borno continue to pay the price for this merciless conflict. All the warring parties must respect the safety of civilians.”