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The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has expressed grave concern over the interruption of aid delivery to tens of thousands of internally displaced people in Rann.
Rann is a town in eastern Borno State and about 10 kilometres from the border with Cameroon, which had experienced deadly attacks by Boko Haram.
A statement by the UN body reveals that the interruption in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Rann is the direct result of an attack that started at dusk on 14 January, 2019 on the military base, and continued into the next day.
“At the time of the attack, an estimated 76,000 internally displaced people were living in Rann.
“A medical clinic, warehouses with humanitarian supplies and accommodation for aid workers were looted and/or destroyed in the attack, and the market and shelters in the camp were burned down by the attackers.
“Several civilian fatalities have also been reported, although the total number is not yet known, and thousands are reported to have fled to Cameroon.
“In addition, 14 aid workers, who were in Rann during the attack and able to hide, were withdrawn the day after by helicopter. At present, Rann is inaccessible to international humanitarian organisations both by road and by air.
“The attacks on Rann, that are increasingly frequent, are having a devastating impact on the civilians taking refuge in this isolated town and severely affecting our ability to deliver life-saving aid to women, men and children in need,” said Mr. Kallon.
“This attack has spread fear among an already vulnerable population, and humanitarian assets were also targeted. I urge the Government of Nigeria to protect civilians, including aid workers,” Mr. Kallon concluded.
The conflict in north-east Nigeria, now in its tenth year, has triggered massive displacement and caused a severe humanitarian crisis with more than 7 million people in need.
In addition to the attack in Rann, clashes in Kukawa and Monguno local government areas in northern Borno State have forced more than 43,000 people to flee their homes since November, with more than 32,000 taking refuge in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Many of these people are converging on already congested camps or sites for internally displaced people, forcing hundreds of individuals to sleep in overcrowded shelters or outside.