Nigeria: MSF Strongly Condemns Aerial Bombing of Displaced Persons Camp in Rann


Read the latest update: "Death Toll Rising in Rann Attack"

UPDATE: January 18, 2017

Fifty-five patients were evacuated today from a camp for displaced people in Rann, northeastern Nigeria, after a deadly aerial attack by the Nigerian Army struck the camp yesterday.

Teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) helped coordinate the evacuation. The patients suffered shrapnel, blast and burn wounds and include several women and children. Ten were in critical condition as of this morning.

Patients were taken to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and then transferred to various hospitals. MSF is in close contact with the medical facilities and is ready to provide follow-up care if necessary.

Approximately 20,000 to 40,000 internally displaced people are residing in Rann, living in makeshift shelters in dire conditions. Many are in poor health with severe malnutrition. The population had fled violence and fighting between Boko Haram and the Nigerian Army which has intensified in recent months. Some had been there for months and others had only recently arrived, including many who had been displaced on multiple occasions.

At the time of the attack, MSF teams were providing medical assistance. Since arriving in Rann on January 14, MSF had vaccinated nearly 2,000 children and screened them for malnutrition. Teams also treated malnourished children, provided general health consultations and distributed relief items.

Immediately following yesterday's attack, MSF teams in Rann began to triage the wounded and provide emergency care.

No MSF staff members were wounded or killed in the attack. However, the attack tragically took the lives of other aid workers, including three employees of a Cameroonian firm that was hired by MSF to provide water and sanitation services in the camp. MSF's deepest sympathy goes out to their families. MSF has worked closely with these aid workers in the past in Nigeria and they were well-known to many MSF staff members.

MSF extends its deepest condolences to the Nigerian Red Cross/Red Crescent who lost six staff members in this horrific attack.

MSF is deeply saddened and angered by this tragedy and condemns this attack on civilians by the Nigerian army in the strongest terms.

Original Story

At least 52 people were killed and 120 wounded today when the Nigerian Army bombed a camp for internally displaced people in Rann, Nigeria, according to the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has teams in the area.

"This large-scale attack on vulnerable people who have already fled from extreme violence is shocking and unacceptable," said Dr. Jean-Clément Cabrol, MSF director of operations. "The safety of civilians must be respected. We are urgently calling on all parties to ensure the facilitation of medical evacuations by air or road for survivors who are in need of emergency care."

MSF medical teams are currently providing first aid to 120 wounded patients in its facility in Rann. The organization’s medical and surgical teams in the region are preparing to treat evacuated patients.

MSF first started working in Nigeria in 1971 and is one of the few organizations still able to operate in hard-to-reach areas of the country.