UN Withdraws Humanitarian Workers From Nigeria
The United Nations has suspended aid work in Rann after an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants that left three humanitarian workers dead and at least three others missing. While the Nigerian government keeps mum on details on the attack on Rann community and the casualty thereof, the United Nations has confirmed that at least eight Nigerian security personnel were killed in the attack.
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.
Also, the Doctors Without Borders, otherwise known as Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) on Friday officially suspended humanitarian activities in the remote Borno community.
Neither the Nigerian military nor the police has released any statement on the Rann attack or confirmed the casualty figure. However, military sources told PREMIUM TIMES several people including soldiers were killed in the attack.
MSF”s Field Communication officer in Abuja, Maro Verli, said on Friday that the humanitarian organisation has no option for now than to suspend all their operations in the volatile area.
“Following the violent attack in Rann, Borno state, on Thursday 1 March, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) decided to suspend its medical activities in the town.
“MSF team has 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.”
Thursday’s attack is the second major one on Rann. About 200 persons were killed in January 2017 when a Nigerian military plane mistakenly dropped bombs on the Rann IDP camp.
The location of Rann, the security situation around the area, and the lack of efficient telephone system there makes it difficult for journalists to get a true understanding of happenings there. A similar scenario occurred in the January 2017 incident. It also took the military days to confirm the actual casualty.