In Sudan, CARE mourns the loss of two staff and calls for swift recovery of two missing aid workers

NAIROBI (January 9, 2000) -- Two CARE staff have been shot dead in Sudan. One other CARE employee and a fourth person, a private contractor who was with the CARE team, are reported missing. The incident occurred between January 2 and 5, in Unity State, Sudan.
The four-man team was driving in a truck from the town of Bentiu to Mayoum on January 2 to open a new health clinic. They were last seen alive by CARE sources 30 miles from Bentiu.

A search and rescue team comprised of personnel from CARE, the United Nations and the government of Sudan were dispatched to the area. The truck and the body of Mekki El Ekheir Mekki were found on January 5 along the road to Mayoum. The body of Ibrahim Ishag Abaker was found a few miles away.

Ibrahim Ishag Abaker was a team leader for CARE in Unity State and Mekki El Ekheir Mekki was a driver. Mr. Abaker leaves a wife and five children while Mr. Mekki leaves a wife and six children. Both men had worked for CARE for nearly 10 years.

In Sudan, CARE urges anyone with information on this matter to report to the authorities, CARE or the United Nations.

"We are shocked and sickened by this terrible news and our hearts go out to the families of the dead and missing," says Jonathan Mitchell, regional director for CARE International in East Africa. "We are also appalled by the blatant disregard for the principle of protection for humanitarian workers exhibited by whoever committed this crime. We call upon the relevant authorities to redouble their efforts to recover the two remaining persons. We also call upon the government of Sudan to continue their investigation into this incident and to provide assurances as to the safety of all humanitarian staff."

This is the most serious incidence of violence against CARE staff in Sudan during the 20 years that CARE has worked there.

"This is a terrible blow to the entire CARE family," says CARE USA President Peter D. Bell. "Coming on the heels of the killing of our CARE colleague in Somalia on January 2, the deaths of two more CARE workers in Sudan bring home the situations of violence and insecurity in which CARE operates and the tremendous sacrifices of those on the frontlines of CARE's mission."

Bell adds that, "This incident illustrates the risks humanitarian staff must run in the absence of a political solution to the war. Until there is more commitment towards peace-making in Sudan and elsewhere, CARE and other humanitarian organizations must brace ourselves for further tragedies like this."

CARE is a non-religious, non-sectarian humanitarian organization working on both sides of the conflict in Sudan. In Unity State, CARE operates supplementary/therapeutic feeding centers as well as agriculture, water and sanitation and health care programs. CARE is also a strong advocate in Sudan and in the international community for an end to the war through a "just peace."

In the USA contact: Allen Clinton, 404-374-3683 or Email:
In Nairobi contact: Wendy Driscoll, (254-2) 716724 or 724674 ext. 221 Res: (254-2) 520184 or Email: