At least six people were killed and eight more were severely injured on Thursday, May 19, in an attack on Yebi village, in Bosso District, where thousands of people displaced by violence in the Lake Chad area have taken refuge. According to Nigerien authorities, the attack was carried out by the group known as the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also called Boko Haram.
At the request of local health authorities, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) evacuated eight severely injured people to the regional hospital in Diffa town, the capital of the region.
Twenty attacks related to Boko Haram occurred in the region between January 1 to March 10, 2016, according to the United Nations. Conflict is ongoing in the area between Boko Haram and the Nigerien army.
During the attack, which took place at night, the market and many houses were burned down. Three wells that provided water to the village were also destroyed, along with the generator that powers the pump. Without these wells the village has no water supply, as there is no other free water source around Yebi.
The MSF health post in Yebi, which serves a population of about 20,000 people, was also completely destroyed in the attack. An average of 400 consultations were carried out at the post each week and there is no other health facility in the village. This is not the first attack on an MSF medical facility in Diffa; on the night of May 2, the health center in Ngarwa was also looted.
"We are very concerned about the impact of these attacks on the population and also about the lack of respect for the medical facilities, which could jeopardize the already limited access to health care in Diffa," said Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, MSF head of mission in Niger. "We are planning to resume activities as soon as possible."
A measles vaccination campaign, which had started just before the attack, had to be postponed for several days.
MSF supports several health centers in the districts of Diffa, Nguigmi, and Bosso, as well as the main maternal and child center in Diffa town and the Nguigmi District Hospital. MSF also provides medical care in the camp of Assaga and in Yebi. In 2015, MSF carried out more than 142,000 medical consultations in the region.