18 January 2019

Nigeria: Satellite Images Show 'Charred Remains' of Town After Boko Haram Attack

Photo: Monde Kingsley Nfor /Irin
Refugees from northern Nigeria in Cameroon's Minawao camp (file photo).
press release

New satellite images analysed by Amnesty International show the horrific aftermath of a Boko Haram attack that devastated the town of Rann, in the Borno State north-east Nigeria, displacing more than 9,000 people earlier this week.

The satellite images reveal the true extent of the devastating attack which took place last Monday in the Borno State town, which hosted thousands of civilians internally displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram. According to Amnesty's analysis, the attack resulted in large areas being burnt in the west and south of Rann, with more than 100 structures destroyed or heavily damaged by fire.

Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria, said:

"Amnesty International condemns Boko Haram's despicable disdain for life. This attack clearly targeted civilians and, therefore, may constitute a war crime.

"The organisation appeals to the Nigerian authorities to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the thousands of people who have been displaced.

"What is happening in Rann shows how vulnerable internally displaced persons are in Nigeria and the need to do more to protect them."

"Since Monday night's attack people have been fleeing across the border to Cameroon in their thousands and with every day that passes their condition is becoming more and more desperate. Rann is now almost empty as deadly attacks by Boko Haram have made people too afraid to stay.

"The authorities on both sides of the border must provide the supplies and safety that these people require. The Cameroonian authorities must also desist from forcing people to return until conditions are safe and they choose to do so voluntarily."

The satellite imagery corroborates reports from the humanitarian NGO Médecins Sans Frontières, which said Rann was "like a graveyard" in the aftermath of Monday's attack. MSF has said it was preparing to receive many of those who fled as refugees across the border to Bodo, in Cameroon.

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