Amsterdam/Bogotá, February 9, 2006 - The two staff members of the international medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) who were detained by an armed group in the northeast of Colombia have been released.
"We are very happy that this difficult situation has come to an end," said Geoff Prescott, general director of MSF-Holland. "Now our teams will be able to resume their daily work providing essential medical services to the most vulnerable and displaced civilians in Colombia."
The two staff members were part of a team exploring possibilities to expand health services to the population in Norte de Santander, a province isolated by violence along the border with Venezuela. They were treated well throughout their detention and are in good health.
In Norte de Santander and many other areas MSF teams use mobile clinics to reach communities that often have no other way to obtain health care. Spending two to three days at each site, the teams see an average of 90 patients per day.
At present MSF has 49 international and over 150 national staff working in Colombia.