The Land-Rover belonging to the Fizi chapter of the national Red Cross, which was clearly marked with Red Cross flags and stickers, was fired on without warning, no advance sign of hostilities, nor any attempt having been made to stop it, a humanitarian agency told IRIN on Tuesday.
The vehicle was transporting six patients from Baraka to the referral hospital in when it was attacked at midday local time near the town of Swima, some 35 km south of Uvira. One of the patients was reportedly killed, while four local Red Cross volunteers and the driver were wounded. Forced to abandon their bullet-riddled vehicle, the team managed to find another vehicle to get them to Uvira, where two of the injured remain in "very serious" condition.
The Red Cross team was conducting an exploratory mission in the region of Baraka and Fizi in order to assess the current security situation. The Red Cross and international NGOs that had been operational in the region suspended their activities in 2002 due to ongoing insecurity.
In April 2001, six International Committee of the Red Cross personnel were ambushed and killed on the road from Fataki to Djugu in the Ituri District of northeastern DRC.
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