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Two MSF Staff Abducted in Somalia
April 20, 2009
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirms that two of its staff members were abducted yesterday in the Bakool region of Somalia. A Dutch nurse and a Belgian doctor were returning from a medical supervisory visit. On the road between Rabdhore and Hudur they were stopped by a group of armed men. The two were taken; all Somali colleagues were allowed to go. As far as we know, no violence was used during the abduction beyond some shooting in the air. Three cars were taken, but found abandoned later again not far from the place where the incident happened. As yet, MSF has not been able to re-establish contact with the two staff taken.
MSF is the main provider of free health care throughout central and southern Somalia, providing primary health care, malnutrition treatment, assistance to displaced people, surgery, water and relief supply distributions in nine regions. Due to the volatile security situation, MSF currently has no international staff permanently based in the country. The organization’s lifesaving humanitarian work continues thanks to the national staff members who keep the programs running, assisted by a management team based in Nairobi who visit the projects to provide crucial support when possible.
MSF is doing all that it can to ensure the swift and safe return of our colleagues, meanwhile, our thoughts are with them and their families. Taking into account the delicacy of the situation and out of respect for the families MSF is not in a position to provide any further information at this time.