No fewer than 76,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Rann are currently threatened by starvation following recent Boko Haram attacks which has forced humanitarian workers to flee the community, officials have said.
On January 14, Boko Haram insurgents carried out a deadly attack on Rann during which an undisclosed number of casualties were recorded.
The attack, which lasted all through Monday night till the morning of Tuesday, targeted a military base stationed in Rann, the headquarters of Kala Balge local government area of Borno state.
It was also in Rann that three female health workers working for UN agencies were abducted last year.
Two of the abductees have so far been killed by the Boko Haram.
Confirming the incident via a statement, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said the deadly attack has not only forced an emergency evacuation of aid workers, but also made Rann inaccessible by land and by air.
The statement, issued by UNOCHA’s head of communication in Nigeria, Samantha Newport, indicated that Kallon was gravely concerned “over the interruption of aid delivery to tens of thousands of internally displaced people in Rann…following a deadly attack by a non-state armed group.”
It read: “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,” said the foremost UN agency in Nigeria.
“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 In addition, 14 aid workers, who were in Rann during the attack and able to hide, were withdrawn the day after by helicopter.”
“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.
“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.”