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Doctors Without Borders Halts Work in Northern Nigeria

The international humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders has suspended its medical aid in northern Nigeria's Borno state, after gunmen there hijacked one of its vehicles.

Doctors Without Borders had been providing health care in the town of Baga, where last month 200 people were killed and thousands of homes were burned. But the group says it is too dangerous to continue the work after five gunmen stole one of the group's vehicles on Saturday along with medical supplies and other equipment.

The group's head in Nigeria, Vipul Chowdhary, told VOA the group had hoped its medical teams would be safe because they were clearly identified as aid workers. He also said they probably would have offered even more services in the area in the future. He called it a "pity" they had to withdraw.

In a statement, the group said that in the past two weeks it had been seeing 80 patients a day, half of them children.



Borno is one of three states under emergency rule as the Nigerian military battles the militant group Boko Haram, which has killed hundreds of people since it began fighting the government in 2009.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said last week Nigeria is facing a rebellion in the north and acknowledged that Boko Haram fighters have taken over parts of Borno.

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