- The Nigerian coordinator for the Medecins San Frontieres has described the incident at the Rann internally displaced persons camp, where Nigerian air force mistakenly bombed
- Alfred Davies said he is yet to come to terms with all he saw after the air strike
- He said he was able to recognize the body of a lady who was at the distribution centre earlier
The Nigerian coordinator for the Medecins San Frontieres has described the incident at the Rann internally displaced persons camp, where Nigerian air force mistakenly bombed.
Alfred Davies said he is yet to come to terms with all he saw after the air strike, MSF reports.
Davies said there were many injured person and the inflow of wounded people continued for hours after the blast which occurred at a12.30pm on Tuesday, January 17.
“There are no words to describe the chaos. Some people had broken bones and torn flesh; their intestines hanging down to the floor. I saw the bodies of children that had been cut in two,” Davies said.
He noted that the air force jet had dropped the first bomb, it circled back around and second attack came after about 5 minutes later.
“I immediately called the rest of the team on the radio and they reassured me that luckily none of them had been injured. We met up at the tents we had erected a few days earlier.
Dozens of wounded began to pour in, and the flow of people continued for hours,” the MSF staff said.
He said the tents in the MSF facility were filled with many injured people with a short time.
“There was only one doctor and one nurse in our team, but each of us did what we could. Even the drivers helped us. We also had support from the Red Cross staff and military nurses.
“I did not see the plane and I don’t know exactly what type of bomb it was. We found small metal slivers on the bodies.
What I saw was indescribable. In the space of one hour we counted 52 dead.
I think that our distributions of essential items such as mats and blankets saved a lot of people. Because they were queuing to collect them at the time of the attack, they were not in the town centre and escaped the bombs.
The hardest thing for our team is the frustration at not having had enough resources or medical equipment to save more of the wounded. A dozen people died in front of our eyes without receiving the urgent medical care they so badly needed. There used to be a hospital in Rann but it was damaged by fire last year and is not functional. The town was left with no medical facilities.
He added that the whole crew had to leave the area at about 6 pm for security reasons after the International Committee of Red Cross staff relieved the pressure and took over from them.
“When I had a moment to myself, I went to the cemetery where the burials had already started. There were 30 new graves - sometimes mothers and their young children were buried in the same hole. It’s a tragedy.
See photos below:
I also visited the area where the bombs hit. They had been dropped on houses. It’s incomprehensible. I recognized the body of a mother who had been at the MSF distribution that morning. Her twins had been given packets of therapeutic food paste as they were suffering from malnutrition. Now I saw them crying, pressing themselves against her inert body.
I can’t find the words.
What allows us to carry on after this terrible and traumatizing experience is, knowing that, we did everything we could despite not having enough resources.
Three people from a private firm hired by MSF to provide water and sanitation services in the camp died in the bombing, and another was injured. This is very hard for our team because we worked very closely with them. All we could do for them was to send their bodies back to their families.
What the survivors of the bombing have lived through is so hard, so violent. Rann was their safe haven. The army that was meant to protect them bombed them instead. We have to remain at their side.”
The MSF had earlier said that about 90 people were killed in the balst that occurred on Tuesday.
The aid agency had also condemned, in strong terms, the mistake by the Nigerian military.
The agency said: “Once again civilians pay the highest toll in the conflict in Nigeria, not a target.”