March 01, 2001

MSF received the joyful news early in the morning of February 4, 2001: our friend and colleague Kenneth Gluck had been released unharmed 26 days after having been kidnapped in Chechnya.

Copyright Jake Price/MSF

Kenneth Gluck © Jake Price/MSF 2001

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) received the joyful news early in the morning of February 4, 2001: our friend and colleague Kenneth Gluck had been released unharmed 26 days after having been kidnapped in Chechnya. Gluck, 39, who was head of mission for MSF's operations in the North Caucasus, was abducted on January 9 by armed individuals while traveling in an unarmed humanitarian convoy near the village of Starye Atagi in Chechnya. Since late 1998, Kenny and his MSF team have been helping to rebuild and support clinics and hospitals in Chechnya for people who had been trapped by the war without access to care.

During Kenny's ordeal, MSF staff, supporters, and friends from around the world sent messages expressing their concern about Kenny's well-being. "Although I was fully confident during my detention that everything possible was being done to gain my release," said Kenny after he returned home, "I am still impressed and moved by the extent of the support from MSF offices and by the warmth, care, and dedication that came from my friends and family."

MSF's programs in Chechnya were suspended during the kidnapping and their resumption is still under discussion. As MSF's Austen Davis stated upon Kenny's release, "This was not only a personal tragedy for Kenny and his family, but also for the doctors and nurses who continue to carry out surgical operations in Chechnya and provide assistance and care to the sick and wounded, despite the harsh conditions, without supplies or pay."

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