On Friday afternoon, 18 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.
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 adults reportedly died at the scene of the bombing, and two more died after being transferred to Maradi hospital.
This is a horrific event… We performed first aid before transferring [the children] to Maradi hospital, but some of the injured did not survive. Dr Souley Harouna, MSF representative in Niger
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 kilometres from the Nigerian border and inhabited by the Peuhl ethnic group. It then reportedly flew over the hamlet again, dropping ammunition. Survivors affirmed it was a Nigerian 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,” says Dr Souley Harouna, MSF representative in Niger. “Our teams report that the injured children suffered open fractures and various wounds and post-traumatic injuries. We performed first aid before transferring them to Maradi hospital, but some of the injured did not survive.”
Our teams work in the Maradi region, focusing on treating children with acute malnutrition and other childhood diseases. Nearly 30,000 children were hospitalised in the four MSF-supported hospitals in the Maradi region in 2021. We also provide relief to people in the border state of Katsina, Nigeria.