The Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Friday announced a partial withdrawal of its medical mission in Zurmi town of Zamfara State following continuous armed confrontations which has displaced thousands of people.

In a statement by its Communication Officer, Abdulkareem Yakubu,  it was noted that since December 10, some of the confrontations were occurring dangerously close to a hospital supported by MSF.

“These armed clashes have provoked the displacement of thousands of people in need of security, shelter and access to basic services. Humanitarian support is needed to help those in dire need of assistance.

“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 in a safe manner.

“Some of the patients refuse to leave the hospital out of fear,” explained Adjide Hermann, MSF deputy field coordinator in Zurmi, adding, “We had no choice but to reduce part of our team, and the staff who are still working at the hospital are afraid of what is going to happen next.”

Dr Simba Tirima, MSF country representative, expressed deep concern, adding, “This situation is untenable; we urgently appeal to the parties involved in the conflict to cease their hostilities to protect the population. This is also crucial to safeguard the medical mission and to maintain the safety of patients and medical staff”.

“Our teams are committed to provide medical support to the Nigerian population in Zamfara State; we will do our best to maintain the operations, but we wish to see improvements in the security situation to be able to provide the appropriate medical care”, adds Dr Tirima.