MSF Team Attacked in Ethiopia

One Person Killed, One Badly Injured

February 8, 2000, Brussels/New York — On Monday, February 7, 2000, at 3 p.m. local time, a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) vehicle carrying a team from the international relief organization that included one local staff member, one international volunteer, and one passenger was attacked in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.

The MSF car was on its way from Jijiga to Degah Bur town when a group of ten heavily armed men jumped out of the bush and opened fire on the vehicle. The driver was killed on the spot. The international volunteer received one bullet in the chest and another bullet in the side. The third passenger suffered a superficial wound.

The wounded volunteer - a logistician with years of experience - was transferred to Degah Bur where he spent the night in the MSF house. This morning, February 8, he was evacuated via a chartered MSF plane with two MSF physicians on board, to Dire Dawa and then taken to Nairobi. At the present time his condition is stable; he is being cared for by the medical emergency team that traveled with him on the plane.

This is the third incident in the Ogaden region in the past 12 months in which humanitarian actors have been targeted. Therefore, MSF has decided to suspend its programs in Degabur Bur at the present time and to evacuate all staff back to Addis Ababa.

MSF programs in the region include a health program and a water and sanitation program. Only a tuberculosis program in Jijiga will continue. Doctors Without Borders will also stop its ongoing exploratory mission in Gode where a team was requested by the Ethiopian authorities last week to carry out a nutritional and medical surveillance for a famine and measles alert.

Family members of the killed and wounded MSF team members have been notified. The names of the injured are not being released at this time.

MSF has 10 international volunteers in Ethiopia and 110 national staff and has been active in Ethiopia since 1985.