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MSF has supported the Madarounfa district hospital in the Maradi region for years, providing free, quality care to thousands of people

Niger

MSF helps treating injured children after the bombing of a village on the southern border

MSF has supported the Madarounfa district hospital in the Maradi region for years, providing free, quality care to thousands of people © MSF/Ainhoa Larrea
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On 18th February, an airstrike hit a small village in the Madarounfa district of southern Niger, killing at least 12 people, including four children, and injuring 16 others, according to local sources. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams operating in the Madarounfa district hospital supported Ministry of Health teams, in particular by providing medical supplies, to treat seven injured children.

    One of these children died shortly after arrival at Madarounfa District Hospital. Two others died after being transferred to the regional hospital in Maradi. A fourth child, aged 20 months, died in the bombing, according to survivors. Six other people, adults, reportedly died at the scene of the bombing, and two more died after being transferred to the hospital in Maradi.

    According to the survivors, a jet first flew over the hamlet of Nachambé, near the village of Garin Kaoura in the Madarounfa district, located a few kilometers from the Nigerian border and inhabited by people belonging to the Peuhl ethnic group. It then reportedly flew over the hamlet again, dropping ammunitions. Survivors affirmed it was a Nigerien plane, pursuing armed men from a border village who had taken shelter in the village school.

    This is a horrific event, unprecedented in the Madarounfa region”, said Dr. Souley Harouna, MSF representative in Niger.

    The teams report that the injured children suffered open fractures and various wounds and post-traumatic injuries. We helped performing first aid before transferring them to the hospital in Maradi, but some of the injured did not survive”.

    MSF works in the Maradi region, focusing on treating children with acute malnutrition and other childhood diseases.

    Nearly 30,000 children were hospitalized in the four MSF-supported hospitals in the Maradi region in 2021.

    MSF response in Katsina, a state hit by violence and malnutrition

    MSF is also assisting people in the border state of Katsina, Nigeria. This airstrike, which reportedly targeted members of armed gangs active in Katsina, is in fact an extreme illustration of the dynamics of insecurity and violence that affect this region, which in turn are one of the causes of the nutrition crisis.

    In order to highlight the current nutritional crisis in north-western Nigeria, MSF has just released the documentary film “Lucky To Be Alive”. It gives voice to Nigerian people of Katsina struggling to survive against a backdrop of recurrent attacks by armed gangs – known as “bandits”, crop failures and an economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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