Abuja, Nigeria. 21 January. As many as nine Nigerian Red Cross Society volunteers remain in critical condition and dozens of others are receiving psychological and medical care after Tuesday’s accidental military strike on a displacement camp in Nigeria’s volatile northeast.
The bombardment, which was targeting militants, killed more than 70 civilians, including six Nigerian Red Cross volunteers. Over 100 civilians were wounded. The airstrike occurred just as 40 Red Cross volunteers were commencing to distribute food to 25,000 displaced people sheltering at a camp in the village of Rann, near the border of Cameroon.
“We are deeply grieving this horrific and devastating incident and we hope and pray that those who are seriously wounded and traumatized will recover,” said Andronicus Adeyemo, acting Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross Society.
Mr Adeyemo reported today that two Red Cross volunteers who sustained serious injuries have undergone successful surgery. They and others gravely wounded in the bombing were evacuated to hospitals in the town of Maiduguri, where the International Committee of the Red Cross is supporting the emergency medical effort.
Mr Adeyemo says everyone at the Nigerian Red Cross Society is in mourning mood, but the trauma, shock and grief suffered by survivors, close colleagues and family members in Borno State is especially acute.
“Our volunteers and staff providing psychosocial support to victims and their families are traumatized themselves. We have mobilized psychological assistance from other regions to help our staff and volunteers get through this terrible time,” said Mr Adeyemo.
The Nigerian Red Cross says it is committed to continuing to aid those most affected by the 7-year violent conflict in the country’s northeast and will not suspend its lifesaving work due to this week’s tragedy.
It is imperative that aid workers and emergency medical services are able to operate safely to ensure critical assistance can be provided to all communities that rely on their support.