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British Red Cross shocked by deaths of civilians and six Red Cross aid workers in Nigeria

18 January 2017

The British Red Cross is shocked and saddened by the deaths of civilians and six aid workers from the Nigerian Red Cross following an airstrike yesterday on the town of Rann, near the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

The six Red Cross workers were in the area as part of a humanitarian operation bringing food to more than 25,000 displaced people.

Hours after Tuesday’s airstrike, a surgical team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deployed to the town.

Another team in Maiduguri prepared to support the Ministry of Health in receiving casualties.

In Rann the team triaged around 100 patients while nine patients in a critical condition were evacuated by helicopter to Maiduguri.

Out of the 90 patients who remain in Rann, 46 are severely injured and need to be evacuated urgently.

“The conditions for post-operative care are not adequate, so all the patients must be evacuated to Maiduguri as soon as possible,” said Dr. Laurent Singa, an ICRC surgeon in Rann.

The British Red Cross extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of all those killed or injured, including those affiliated to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “The British Red Cross is saddened to hear that six of our colleagues at the Nigerian Red Cross are among the casualties.

“They were part of a team bringing desperately needed food to more than 25,000 displaced people. The Red Cross is coordinating medical emergency efforts with relevant authorities and other aid actors on the ground.

“Our thoughts are with the families and colleagues of those who have been killed while undertaking humanitarian work.

“Local volunteers often risk their lives to provide life-saving assistance to people in conflict zones, despite the serious dangers. Under the rules of international humanitarian law, aid workers and civilians should be protected.”

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement reminds all that aid workers must be able to operate safely and be allowed to deliver vital assistance where it is needed, without fear of losing their lives.

Parties to the conflict must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure that civilians are not affected by the hostilities.

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