June 03, 2014

 

BANGUI—The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today evacuated a number of staff members from the city of Ndélé in the north of Central African Republic (CAR), following an attack on MSF staff and facilities.

Four armed men entered the MSF house in Ndélé at around 1:30 AM on June 2, committing a violent armed robbery. The attack comes just one month after a massacre at the MSF hospital in the northern town of Boguila, which left 18 people, including three MSF staff members, dead.

“We’re appalled by the aggression that our teams are being subjected to,” said Javier Eguren, MSF head of mission in CAR.  “We remain determined to bring medical aid to the people of CAR, but only under minimum conditions that must be respected by the parties to the conflict. Failing that, we can’t do our jobs.”

The latest attack against MSF staff and property illustrates the difficulties facing humanitarian organizations in CAR. From December 2012 to March 2014, MSF teams experienced at least 115 security incidents.

MSF is evaluating the situation in Ndélé and is negotiating the prospect of continuing its activities in the area with local authorities. MSF normally conducts more than 1,600 medical consultations weekly, about one third for children under five.

“MSF is the only health care provider in the city, so the impact of a departure will be tragic for this community,” said Eguren.

MSF has been supporting the hospital in Ndélé since 2010. Since December 2013, MSF has doubled the number of programs it runs in CAR from 10 to 21 and has set up six programs in neighboring countries to aid Central African refugees. MSF has been working in CAR since 1997. At present, MSF has more than 300 expatriate staff and 2,000 local workers responding to the crisis.