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Gunmen abduct several hospital workers in northwest Nigeria

Gunmen abduct several hospital workers in northwest Nigeria
FILE- In this photo taken on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, vigilantes armed with a weapons stands on ...   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved. -

Nigeria

A group of armed bandits attacked a hospital in northwestern Nigeria on Tuesday, an official source said, a day after an attack on a health center in the same region denounced by Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The attack against the Abdussalam-Abubakar General Hospital in Gulu, in Niger State (northwestern Nigeria), was confirmed to AFP by the police chief of the state, Emmanuel Umaru, who said he was waiting for a full report on what happened there.

According to Adam Egiworo, a resident of the town contacted by AFP, the gunmen stormed the hospital around 1:30 am and "opened fire indiscriminately", killing "two people".

The attackers also took "about 20 people hostage," including several medical staff, presumably to "treat their injured comrades in their camps," Egiworo added.

In a message posted on Twitter, MSF also condemned Tuesday's "unacceptable" attack by an armed group on a health center supported by the NGO in Gummi district, in the northwestern state of Zamfara.

The armed group abducted an elderly medical staff member, according to MSF, before "destroying medicines and therapeutic foods.

Insecurity in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is widespread. Every day, the country is wracked by violence perpetrated by criminal and jihadist groups, and the authorities, accused of being among the most corrupt in the world, are unable to contain it.

Northern and central Nigeria is home to criminal groups, known locally as "bandits," who attack and loot villages, kill their inhabitants or kidnap them for ransom.

These bandits, declared "terrorists" by the federal government, are motivated only by greed. But analysts worry about growing links with jihadist groups in the northeast, which have been leading an insurgency for 13 years.

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