MSF team attacked in Ethiopia: One person killed, one badly injured

Updated: 18.38 February 8, 2000
Press release, Brussels, February 8, 2000 - On Monday February 7, 2000, at 3pm local time, an MSF vehicle carrying a team from the organization (one national staff, one expatriate and one passenger) was attacked in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.

The MSF car was on its way from Jijiga to Degah Bur town when a group of ten heavily armed men jumped out of the bush and opened fire on the vehicle. The driver was killed on the spot. The expatriate received one bullet in the chest and another bullet in the side. The third person, the brother of the driver, had a superficial wound.

The expatriate - a 29 year old French logistician with years of field experience - was transferred to Degah Bur where he spent the night in the MSF house. This morning, February 8, he was evacuated via a chartered MSF plane, with two MSF doctors on board, to Dire Dawa and then taken to Nairobi. At the present time his condition is stable and he is being cared for by a medical emergency team that was travelling with him in the plane.

The logistician has been on placement in Ethiopia since August 1999. He started with MSF in 1996, working in Croatia-Bosnia. Since then he has worked for MSF in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Burundi, Somalia (Kismayo), Sierra Leone.

This is the third incident in the Ogaden region in the past 12 months where humanitarian actors have been targeted. Therefore, MSF has decided to suspend its programs in Degabur Bur at the present time and to evacuate all staff back to Addis Abeba.

MSF programs include a health program and a water and sanitation program. Only the TB program in Jijiga will continue. MSF will also stop its ongoing exploratory mission in Gode where a team was doing nutritional and medical surveillance for a famine and measles alert during the past week following a request from the Ethiopian authorities.

Family members of the injured MSF staff, both national and ex-pat, have been notified. The names of the inured are not being released at this time.

MSF has 10 international staff in Ethiopia and 110 national staff and has been active in Ethiopia since 1985.

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