December 15, 1999

New York/Paris, December 16, 1999 — The Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgian doctor and German logistics officer held since December 6th in Kailahun in eastern Sierra Leone left the area by car this morning and were met in Daru by members of MSF. They were then evacuated by helicopter to Freetown.

The two volunteers are in good health and report having been well treated. They were able to contact the MSF team in Freetown regularly. The requests voiced by the rebel leaders who retained them concerned the peace and disarmament process.

MSF had been working in the region of Kailahun since August 1999. A polio, tetanus, and measles vaccination campaign had been implemented and the team had also carried out health care programs in the villages. The population living in this area of the country has been in isolation for many years and there is almost no health care available.

The MSF team would like to thank all those who have helped and supported them over the past ten days.

Thirty MSF volunteers are still present in Sierra Leone and provide medical assistance in Freetown, Bo, Moyamba, Kenema, Kambia, and Kabala.

MSF is the world's largest independent international medical relief agency aiding victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural and man-made disasters, and others who lack health care due to geographic remoteness or ethnic marginalization in more than 80 countries.

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