MSF confirms LRA attack on village in northern DRC

Geneva, March 16, 2009 ? Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirms that on Sunday, March 15, the Lord?s Resistance Army (LRA) carried out attacks on Banda, a village in Haut Uélé, in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. MSF has been providing treatment for patients with sleeping sickness for almost a year in Banda, a village 150km southwest of Doruma.

?The majority of the MSF team, including all expatriate staff members, is now safe,? said Marc Poncin, MSF program manager for DRC, based in Geneva. ?However, we still don?t know what is currently happening in Banda, or what happened to our Congolese staff or to the population remaining there, especially the hospital patients. This is our main concern today.?

During the first hours of the attack, contact was lost with the MSF team. It was only later the same day that MSF received the news that all its expatriate staff members were safe.

MSF has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1981. The sleeping sickness project in Haut Uélé began in 2007 in Doruma. At the beginning of 2008, MSF moved the sleeping sickness health center from Doruma to Banda due to the insecurity in the region linked to LRA attacks.