Chad: MSF team attacked in Koukou, eastern Chad
November 29, 2007
On Saturday night, a group of armed men broke into the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) compound in Koukou, a town which lies 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Abeche in eastern Chad. The armed men used their weapons to threaten the MSF team, and hit them. Shots were also fired into the air. The assailants stole the money from the safe, took telecommunications material and the MSF car, which they used to flee. This violent attack follows another aggression that occurred six days earlier, when armed men broke into the MSF office in Koukou and beat up two MSF national staff members in an attempt to steal the safe.
Following this latest violent attack, MSF has decided to temporarily suspend its activities in Koukou. MSF had been working there since April 2007, providing assistance to 30,000 displaced people. Three MSF international staff members and 15 members of the Chadian team have left Koukou. Three international staff members remain in order to ensure the transfer of hospitalized patients, and to distribute therapeutic food rations for the malnourished children who were treated through an outpatient program. The MSF team working in Dogdoré has also been reduced from 25 to 10 people.
Eastern Chad has been the scene of armed fighting since the end of 2005. Today, insecurity remains high in the region. Instability around Koukou is due to multiple factors, including common crime, the presence of armed rebel groups and government armed forces.
Additionally, these past few days fighting has reignited between rebel groups and government forces in the east of Abeche, particularly around Hadjer Hadid.