Doctors Without Borders, Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF, on Friday announced a partial withdrawal of its medical mission in Zurmi town of Zamfara State, following the continuous armed confrontations that have displaced thousands of people in the area.
A statement by the Communication Officer, Abdulkareem Yakubu, explained that since December 10, some of the confrontations were occurring dangerously close to a hospital supported by MSF.
The statement explained that these armed clashes have provoked the displacement of thousands of people in need of security, shelter and access to basic services, saying that humanitarian support is needed to help those in dire need of assistance.
The statement added, “Faced with important security risks, MSF medical teams on the ground had to evacuate part of its staff and are unable to function optimally, having to suspend the provision of health care to communities outside the town. In this context, our team is concerned about patients in need of medical treatment as they are unable to reach the hospital safely.”
Adjide Hermann, MSF Deputy Field Coordinator in Zurmi, said some of the patients refused to leave the hospital out of fear and the MSF had no choice but to reduce part of its team.
He said some staff who are still working at the hospital are living in fear of what may happen next.
Dr Simba Tirima, MSF country representative, according to the statement also expressed deep concern, adding that the situation is untenable and urgently appealed to the parties involved in the conflict to cease their hostilities to protect the population.
He said it is also crucial to safeguard the medical mission and to maintain the safety of patients and medical staff.