Save the Children aid worker killed in Chad

A serious security incident has taken place in Chad today (May 1, 2008) in which Pascal Marlinge, 49, a Save the Children UK staff member, was shot and killed.

Precise details have yet to be confirmed. At this stage, we understand that Mr Marlinge, a French national, was in a three-car convoy with a Save the Children driver and two vehicles from another humanitarian agency. They were driving from Farchana to Hajir Hadid, close to the Sudanese border.

Our information is that at about 10.15am local time the convoy was stopped by a group of armed men. A shot, or shots, were fired and Mr Marlinge was killed. The four other humanitarian workers were unhurt.

Mr Marlinge has a wife and one teenage daughter, both living in France. They have been informed. Save the Children UK is supporting them at this time. Mr Marlinge's body is being repatriated to France.

A Save the Children UK team is on its way to Chad and expected to arrive in the next 24 hours to assist with the investigation.

All Save the Children UK work in Chad has been suspended until further notice.

Save the Children UK chief executive Jasmine Whitbread said: "Our thoughts are with Pascal's family at this time. Staff in the UK and in Chad are profoundly shocked and upset. Pascal was loved and respected by all colleagues who have worked with him."

Counselling will be made available to all Save the Children staff affected by this incident.

Relevant Chadian, French and British authorities are being informed.