11 Killed in IDP Camp in Borno

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By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

Eleven persons were killed at the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Banki, Borno State, a border town with Cameroon, a member of the civil society organisation (CSO) told journalists yesterday in Maiduguri.

The CSO member, Mr. Ibrahim Tom, while speaking with journalists after his return from the border town, said 11 persons were killed, three persons injured and four boys abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from the IDP camps in the town.

Tom, who claimed that he was on the entourage with officials of Borno State Emergency Management Agency (BOSEMA) and the Caretaker Chairman of Bama Local Government Area to the area on Saturday, said: “I went to Banki in the afternoon with Bama LGA chairman and SEMA to follow up on the incident in Banki. According to report from both the military and IDPs leaders, 11 people were killed, three injured and four boys abducted.”

It was earlier been reported in some media that suspected members of Boko Haram sneaked into the IDP camp in Banki town and murdered at least 18 youths at about 11p.m. on Friday and forcibly took away many others.

The report had claimed that the insurgents during the attack, did not use guns or bombs, but swords and sharp knives to carry out their dastardly acts. Tom said during the visit, it was learnt that  the insurgents also looted food items from the IDPs.

He said the foodstuffs were later recovered by the military.

Tom said there was an urgent need to deploy more police to the area in order to improve community relationship and to strengthen security around the camp.

He said: “Community policing among the IDPs themselves is essential to minimise infiltrators.”

Meanwhile, cholera has killed seven persons at the IDP camps in Maiduguri

Also, there are threats that more lives could be lost in the camps as the outbreak of the disease has been reported in the town.

This was disclosed by the Medical Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Anna Cillers, who stated that seven persons were killed by cholera at IDP camps in Muna and Dala Lawanti cholera treatment centre.

She said 100 patients have been discharged in the last three weeks after receiving treatment for the disease at the MSF centre in the town.

Cillers who briefed journalists on measures put in place to prevent the further spread of cholera in Maidugurin  metropolis and at IDP camps in the town,  said over 200 patients were admitted at the Dala treatment centre, since the outbreak of cholera last month.

She said: “In the last 24 hours in Maiduguri metropolis, we have received over 50 patients at MSF’s Cholera Treatment Unit at Dala. The total number of patients admitted from the start of the outbreak till now is over 200 with 100 patients discharged and seven people died.”

Cillers said the MSF is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other organisations to respond to outbreaks and diagnoses of cholera in the metropolis and resettlement camps.

On containment of further spread, she said: “We have already established a 40 bed Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) in Dala, which has so far admitted 70 patients. MSF has also set up an Oral Re-hydration Point (ORP) in Muna camp as well as constitute a team of 14 community health workers who are helping to find new cases and trace community members who may have come into contact with affected patients.

According to her, “Most of the cholera patients come from Muna Garage, a camp for people who have fled other parts of the state due to the ongoing conflict between the Nigerian armed forces and Boko Haram.”

Cillers attributed the outbreak of cholera to heavy rains in the last three days, adding that the rain led to the flooding of Muna camp.

She lamented that: “The camp is partly flooded, making the already poor sanitary conditions at the camp even worse, which is an additional risk factor in a cholera outbreak. A potential case has also now been reported from another part of the city.”

The MSF leader said: “Since last weekend, we have witnessed a steady increase in the number of patients at our treatment centre and at the re-hydration point in Muna camp. We are in the process of expanding the capacity of our treatment centre in Dala to 50 beds and are exploring the possibility of opening another treatment centre close to the most affected areas.”

She however said the number of beds that are currently planned may not be enough to cope at the peak of outbreaks.

“MSF is also setting up re-hydration points in places where new cases are being reported and is sharing its medical expertise by training state health workers and those from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in prevention and control methods,” she said

Cillers however asked residents of Maiduguri not to panic, but take adequate precautions against contacting cholera from contaminated water sources for domestic and industrial uses.

The Borno State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, while speaking to journalist, however stated that health workers in Maiduguri are on top of the cholera epidemic that has spread to some IDPs camps.

He said: “I have addressed the press on the cholera outbreaks and measures have taken by the Ministry of Health to contain it from further spread. All the detailed measures taken will be aired by NTA, Maiduguri.

“I cannot tell you the death toll, as I continue to visit all camps in Maiduguri, and ensure that the epidemic does not further spread to claim more lives.”