By Adekunle Aliyu, Johnbosco Agbakwuru with agency report
The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF) said on Friday it had suspended its work in the town of Rann in Borno State and just as it said that it has evacuated national and international staff after a deadly raid by Boko Haram guerrillas.
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed four Nigerian aid workers in an attack on a military barracks in the town in Borno state late on Thursday.
“Following a violent attack in Rann, Borno state, on Thursday 1 March, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) suspended its medical activities in the town and evacuated 22 national and international staff,” MSF said in a statement.
“It is still unclear how many people were killed and injured but before leaving, MSF medical staff treated 9 wounded patients.
” “This attack is a stark reminder that it is the people in Borno who are paying the price of this ruthless conflict””, MSF said.
“Leaving our patients without medical assistance is an extremely painful decision”, it added.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President Bukola Saraki have condemned the attack on the town.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said that the attack on humanitarian workers in Rann, Borno State, was an indication that the Boko Haram insurgents were godless, brutish, and utterly to be despised.
President Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina said, “As I have always maintained, no true religion advocates hurting the innocent. To now further attack and kill those offering humanitarian aid is the height of bestiality. It is odious before both God and man.”
He sympathized with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies working at Rann, and in the country generally.
President Buhari affirmed that such cowardly attacks can only bolster the determination of government to bring the Boko Haram insurgency to a decisive end, in the shortest possible time.
Saraki Condemns Killing of Aid Workers; Describes Attack as ‘Cowardly’
Also the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, condemned the Boko Haram attack
In a tweet on his personal handle ‘@BukolaSaraki’, the Senate President described the attack that led to the deaths of several humanitarian workers as cowardly — while also calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“My prayers are with the people of Rann, Borno State at this time.
“Last night’s despicable attack that led to the deaths of several aid workers is a callous and cowardly act. Our security forces must not relent until they bring the perpetrators of this atrocity to justice.”
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have deplored Boko Haram attack on Rann in Borno.
IOM said: “a large number of Boko Haram members armed with automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades and gun trucks attacked the military base in Rann’’.
The UN migration agency said some 55,000 people displaced by the conflict lived in a camp near the base.
“IOM staff reported that during the incident, four soldiers, four mobile police and three humanitarian workers were killed and another three humanitarian workers were injured.
“Two of those killed were IOM field colleagues,’’ Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies said.
“We are outraged and saddened at the killings of two of our colleagues in an attack by Boko Haram in North East Nigeria last evening.
“They represented the best in us in assisting displaced civilians. We will miss them,’’ Abdiker said.
UNICEF, in a statement by Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, also expressed shock on the attack against humanitarian workers in Rann.
Poirier said: “UNICEF is shocked by the attack on March 1, in Rann, Borno State, in which three aid workers lost their lives, three were injured and one is reportedly missing.
“One of these brave workers who lost their lives, and the nurse who is missing, were on the frontline providing critical services supported by UNICEF.
“The two others who were killed were working for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
“We strongly condemn this attack on selfless aid professionals, who were working in the most difficult humanitarian conditions.
“Alarmingly, the number of attacks on aid workers is increasing around the world, and we must stand together to reaffirm our commitment to protect them. Humanitarian workers should never be a target.
“UNICEF offers its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to all IOM staff members. We will continue to work with the Government to ensure safe return of those missing.”
The UN statement, issued by its Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, had also strongly condemned the killing of the three aid workers in Rann town.
“Three aid workers were also injured, and a female nurse is missing and feared to have been abducted,’’ Kallon said.
He said the UN was also concerned about other civilians who may have been injured or killed in the attack.
“Two of the deceased aid workers were contractors with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), working as coordinators in a camp in Rann for 55,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“The other aid worker was a medical doctor employed as a third-party consultant with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),’’ Kallon said.