Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Several thousands of people have fled Rann in Borno State following a violent attack by terrorists in the town on January 14, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders, has said.
It said the displaced persons started arriving by foot in Bodo, Cameroon, some seven kilometres across the border from Rann.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff have started providing assistance in Bodo.
The organisation said a team consisting of medical and logistics staff have been distributing food and water, and are providing emergency medical care.
“Our team in Bodo estimates that some 8,000 people arrived Thursday and we expect several thousands more may come Friday,” said MSF Programme Manager for Nigeria, Hugues Robert.
“We are preparing to assist 15,000 people with food, water and medical care over the coming days. Many people were in a state of shock and were clearly distressed by what they had witnessed. Now they have lost all that they have and need absolutely everything.”
It said people spent one night outdoors near Bodo as there were no shelters, noting that there were children and many breastfeeding and pregnant women among them.
In Rann, many parts of the town were burnt, including houses and shelters. The market and food stores were also destroyed. The MSF warehouse, office and pharmacy were looted and burnt to the ground. Empty boxes of medical supplies were lying scattered on the ground outside.
MSF was able to evacuate one injured man on site, but most others fled to nearby Cameroon.
“This is truly devastating for the people in Rann”, says Robert, “They suffer endless violence. And now they have to get back on their feet once more. How many more times is this possible? The people of Borno continue to pay the price for this merciless conflict. All the warring parties must respect the safety of civilians.”