Aid worker killed, two wounded in Ethiopia ambush

News and Press Release
Originally published
NAIROBI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Ten gunmen riddled a vehicle belonging to the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres with bullets in eastern Ethiopia, killing one person and wounding two, the agency said on Wednesday.
The vehicle's Ethiopian driver was killed instantly in Monday's attack. A French worker was shot twice and has been airlifted to hospital in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, MSF spokeswoman Olivia Verkade said.

"There were 20 bullet holes in the car," she told Reuters. "The expatriate was shot in the chest. He was then pulled out of the car and shot a second time in the side and left for dead."

A third passenger, the driver's brother, was slightly injured in the attack.

MSF's general director Alex Parisel announced the suspension of activities in the Ogaden region, saying he believed the attackers were deliberately targeting aid workers.

"We don't know if it was against MSF in particular or just against aid agencies," he said by telephone from Brussels. "It was a well-prepared ambush."

Parisel said MSF had been planning to reinforce the region because of famine fears in the Gode area of the Ogaden.

"It is a bad moment to suspend operations but we can take no risks at all," he said. "We are very angry and very surprised because we had a good relationship with the people and the elders. We are waiting for an explanation."

MSF officials declined to name any of the three victims but said the Frenchman was 29 and had worked for the agency for four years in Bosnia, Angola and Sierra Leone among other places.

He started work in construction in Ethiopia in August 1999 and was involved in a water and sanitation programme in the Ogaden.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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