Scores of Wounded Civilians in Western Part of Ivory Coast Following Military Attack

MSF urges all parties involved in the conflict to respect civilian populations


Man, April 17, 2003 - On Tuesday, April 15, in the afternoon, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) had to treat about fifty wounded civilians in the hospital of Man, in the western part of Ivory Coast. The wounded - among whom 9 children, 13 women, and some elderly persons - reported that they were victims of helicopter attacks in Danane and Maheupleu. The majority of the wounded showed severe abdominal wounds, open fractures and torn limbs, and the surgical team had to perform 12 urgent interventions, such as amputations. In addition to casualties at the places of the attacks itself, eight people - including three children - died in the hospital, as a direct result from their wounds.

This is no isolated incident. Other violent attacks against civilians are reported regularly to the MSF teams that assist displaced populations in Daloa, Duékoué, and Guiglo.

Shocked by the extremely violent nature of these attacks and their consequences for the victims, MSF is alarmed with the absence of protection for civilian populations, who should never be the target of deliberate violence or attacks.

MSF urges all parties in the conflict in western Ivory Coast to respect the civilian populations and to take all necessary precautions to protect medical installations, material, and health workers.

Since October 10, 2002, the international and national teams of MSF have been providing assistance to civilian populations who are heavily affected by the conflict in Ivory Coast. These teams have conducted more than 90,900 medical consultations, 1,650 surgical interventions, 3,800 deliveries, 3,100 hospitalizations, and 10,700 measles vaccinations on all sides of the frontlines.