Niger: Deadly attack on Lake Chad refugees and MSF health post in Yebi

MSF assists victims of violence in the district of Bosso, in Diffa region

At least six people were killed and eight more were severely injured last Thursday in an attack in Yebi, Bosso district, Niger, where thousands of people displaced from the Lake Chad area have settled looking for refuge. According to the Nigerien authorities, the attack was carried out by the group Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also known as Boko Haram. 

At the request of local health authorities, MSF has evacuated the eight severely injured people to the regional hospital in Diffa town, the capital of the region.

According to the UN, from 1 January to 10 March 2016, there were 20 attacks related to Boko Haram. There is an ongoing conflict in the region between this group and the Nigerien army.

During the attack, which took place on the night of 19 May, the market and many houses were burned down. Three water bladders which provided water day and night to the village were also destroyed along with the generator which makes the pump work. Without these three bladders the village has no water supply as there is no other free water source around Yebi.

Impact on the medical mission

The MSF health post in Yebi, which serves a population of about 20,000 people, was also completely destroyed. The health centre registered an average of 400 consultations per week and there is no other health facility in the site. Unfortunately, this is not the first attack on anMSF supported medical facility in Diffa; on the night of 2 May, the health centre 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 jeopardise the already limited access to healthcare in Diffa,” says Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, MSF’s 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, has had to be postponed for several days.

MSF is supporting several health centres in the districts of Diffa, Nguigmi and Bosso, as well as the main maternal and child centre in Diffa town and the Nguigmi district hospital. MSF is also providing medical care in the camp of Assaga and the site of Yebi, on the outskirts of Bosso, where thousands of people have sought refuge. In 2015, MSF carried out more than 142,000 medical consultations in the region.