MSF National Staff Member Killed in Somalia

Barcelona/Nairobi -March 18, 2008 — On March 18, a Somali national staff from the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) died at the hospital following severe injuries sustained during an attack on an MSF car the week before. Along with other cars travelling the same route, an MSF vehicle was attacked on March 12. At 1:00 PM local time several armed men opened fire on the vehicles, seriously wounding the MSF Somali staff member, who worked as a security guard. Three other MSF Somali colleagues were slightly injured in the incident.

The car was returning from supervising one of the MSF-operated primary health centers in Balcad, some 20 km north of Mogadishu, Somalia when it came under fire. The armed men took the occupants’ mobile phones and personal belongings, including money, as well as the car. Occupants of other cars were similarly robbed.

According to the information the organization has up to now, it does not appear that MSF was specifically targeted.

Following the killing of three colleagues on Monday January 28 in Kismayo, MSF had suspended all international staff presence in Somalia. However, the programs continue to run by the local staff. In late December 2007, two international staff members were kidnapped in Bossaso. They were released after one week in captivity and in good health. MSF has repeatedly denounced attacks against humanitarian aid workers and their consequences on the delivery of assistance to vulnerable populations in Somalia.

We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his families and friends.

MSF has been working in Somalia since 1991.