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Relief and gratitude as Médecins du Monde returns to work in Damboa three months after an aid worker was killed

8 February 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

An international non-governmental organisation, Médecins du Monde, has resumed work in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State three months after ceasing its activities when one of its staff members was stabbed and shot dead allegedly by a “rogue” soldier who was said to be suffering from a mental disorder.

Alem Muluseta, the aid worker, was stabbed multiple times and then shot by the soldier, who also shot and wounded a United Nations helicopter pilot and killed a fellow soldier who was attempting to disarm him.

Before the tragic shooting incident, Médecins du Monde had been operating in Damboa for at least five years. But, despite residents’ repeated pleas, the organisation stopped working there after the aid worker’s tragic killing. The NGO said at the time that it was uncertain it would resume work in Damboa again.

But residents told RNI reporter Fanna Usman that they were extremely grateful Médecins du Monde had decided return to work in the area.

Yagambo Ba Tujja thanked God for the return of the NGO, saying how sad she was when it had closed its operations.

“For years we received assistance from the NGO, whose healthcare workers looked after ill people here. Sometimes our sick people were so ill that they could not get to the NGO’s facility and workers would even go to their homes to treat them. When it closed, people in the community suffered. I am so grateful it has resumed it work here. We need their healthcare workers to help us at least until the government builds a clinic in our area,” she said.

Mala M Ali said that when the NGO closed, there was no hospital to treat the sick. Pregnant women were particularly affected because they could not go for regular check-ups.

“After Médecins du Monde left, we asked the government to build us a hospital here but so far it has not done so. Now ill people in the community will at least have somewhere to go for treatment. That is a huge relief. And our wives feel much happier because they can go for regular check-ups again.”

Binta Abdullahi, who works for Médecins du Monde, confirmed that the NGO had resumed work in Damboa.

“We are continuing where we left off. We are working to keep the community as healthy as possible. Nothing has changed and many patients are coming to us for treatment. So many, in fact, that we are working longer hours so that we can help as many people as possible.”


About the author

Rukaiya Alibe