Médecins Sans Frontières condemns attacks on aid workers and calls for release of abducted colleagues


Médecins Sans Frontières condemns attacks on aid workers and calls for
release of abducted colleagues – Humanitarian work in Somalia threatened

9 January 2012 – Two Médecins Sans Frontières colleagues, Philippe Havet
and Andrias Karel Keiluhuo, were killed on 29 December 2011 by a gunman
while implementing emergency assistance projects in Mogadishu. Three months
ago, two Médecins Sans Frontières aid workers, Montserrat Serra and Blanca
Thiebaut, were abducted in Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya while
carrying out emergency assistance for the Somali population.

These attacks on aid workers must be condemned in the strongest of terms.
They put in jeopardy life-saving medical projects that are already far from
adequate in addressing the scope of the medical needs of the Somali
population.

Médecins Sans Frontières is confronting the difficult dilemma of working in
a context like Somalia where the needs are not only extremely great but the
risks are also exceptionally high for the safety and security of all our
staff. As we consider this dilemma, Médecins Sans Frontières is requesting
that all people, especially the authorities in control of areas in Somalia
where our kidnapped colleagues are being detained, do everything possible
to facilitate the safe release of Blanca Thiebaut and Montserrat Serra.

Médecins Sans Frontières has been present in Somalia continuously since
1991 assisting Somalis in need on all sides of ongoing fighting and
conflicts. Over the last six months, teams have treated 225.000 patients
in Somalia, vaccinated 110.000 children and cared for 30.000 malnourished
children in 14 projects. Additionally, Médecins Sans Frontières provides
assistance to Somali refugees in nine projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, where
finding the balance between the massive medical needs of the population and
the risks that teams are forced to endure is increasingly challenging. The
net result is that the Somali population – extremely vulnerable after 20
years of civil war, international interventions and institutional collapse
– gets less assistance than it needs.

“To effectively continue our medical humanitarian work in Somalia to
support the population affected by the conflict, Médecins Sans Frontières
needs all parties to the conflict, the leadership as well as the people of
Somalia to support us in this work and help ensure the safety and security
of humanitarian workers,” says Dr.Unni Karunakara, International President
of Médecins Sans Frontières. “For our colleagues Philippe and Kace, this
failed tragically. For Blanca and Mone, the leadership and people of
Somalia have the responsibility to facilitate the safe and prompt
resolution of their abduction.”
(See attached file: MedecinsSansFrontieres_Somalia_090112.docx)
(Embedded image moved to file: pic27624.gif)Medecins Sans Frontieres
Australia
Sally McMillan
Press & Information Officer

Médecins Sans Frontières Australia
PO Box 847, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia

Office + 61 2 8570 2600

Australia 1300 136 061 (local call
cost)

New Zealand 0508 633 324 (toll free)

(Embedded image moved to file:
pic20537.gif)

MedecinsSansFrontieres_Somalia_090112.docx

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