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One Civilian and Two MSF Staff Members Victims of Shooting Incident in Mogadishu, Somalia
June 9, 2007
On Tuesday, June 5, a car with driver, hired by the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was involved in a shooting incident in Mogadishu, Somalia, which resulted in the driver of the rental car being killed, and one MSF staff member wounded.
The car had only a civilian and two MSF staff members on board and they were not accompanied by armed guards or escorts. On the main road from the airport, the car encountered an unscheduled armed convoy approaching rapidly. As the convoy filled the road, the driver was unable to avoid a minor collision with one of the cars.
As the convoy was passing by, the MSF staff and their driver were fired upon repeatedly by the security guards accompanying the convoy.
"While the exact circumstances of the incident remain uncertain it is clear that the heavy-handed response against unarmed civilians was immediate, unprovoked and grossly disproportionate and therefore utterly unacceptable," said Marcel Langenbach, Head of the Emergency Desk for MSF in Amsterdam.
The driver was killed instantly. MSF's two staff members were fortunate to survive. Repeated shots were fired at them from close range. One person sustained a bullet wound to the leg. He received medical care and his situation is stable. A third person, also an MSF staff member, was unharmed, although he remains in a state of shock.
In the past few months many people have been killed, or wounded and thousands have fled the city as a result of heavy fighting between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) with allied Ethiopian troops and opposing armed groups.
MSF has been providing medical care in Mogadishu for years and has recently increased its presence in the city to respond to the gross lack of healthcare due to the increased violence and insecurity and the lack of supplies and medical staff.
"This tragic incident highlights the general insecurity of living in Somalia and in particular how vulnerable Mogadishu's civilians are to indiscriminate violence", Langenbach added. "We call on all armed parties in Somalia to respect the safety of the civilian population."
MSF wishes to express its deep regret on the loss of the driver, Abdulkarim, who died in Mogadishu in the shooting incident of Tuesday, June 5. We will remember his presence, and his involvement with our work. Abdulkarim leaves a wife and four children behind, who will greatly miss him.