Civilians Caught in Crossfire in Sierra Leone

MSF Treating Wounded in Freetown Hospital

New York/Freetown, May 10, 2000 — A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) surgical team working in Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has treated approximately 50 civilians wounded in hostilities in the city. A surge in wounded arrived at the hospital on Monday, May 8, following shooting that erupted during a demonstration organized in front of the house of rebel leader Foday Sankoh. No new wounded were received on Tuesday, May 9.

Two of the 40 civilians wounded in the incident died on arrival at Connaught Hospital. 34 were wounded by bullets and four suffered from severe crush wounds. Of the 34 wounded by bullets, 10 were injured in the back as they were fleeing. The Doctors Without Borders surgical team operated on 11 people who were seriously injured. In addition, the hospital morgue contained the bodies of seven civilians killed during the incident.

This incident occurred in spite of the presence of United Nations peacekeepers. Doctors Without Borders urgently calls on the factions involved to protect civilians and respect the work of humanitarian organizations.

Doctors Without Borders is maintaining a surgical team in Freetown and programs in Kambia, Kabala, and Bo. Insecurity has forced the temporary suspension of Doctors Without Borders projects in Makeni, Kenema, and Moyamba.