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Attacks on Health Care Monthly News Brief - March 2020


*This monthly digest comprises threats and violence as well as protests and other events affecting the delivery of and access to health care identified in open sources. The incidents reported are not a complete nor a representative list of all events that affect the provision of health care and have not been independently verified.

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SHCC Attacks on Health Care
The section aligns with the definition of attacks on health care used by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC).

Burkina Faso
26 March 2020: In Hounde, Tuy province, Hauts-Bassins region, an ambulance driver was assaulted by gendarmes for not complying with an imposed COVID-19 curfew. Source: ACLED^1^

Sahel Monitoring: A new series exploring violent and threatening incidents affecting aid operations, health care, education, civilians, refugees and IDPs in the Sahel region to ensure staff safety and better response outcomes. Burkina Faso and** Niger** available now.

**Coming soon! **Cameroon and Mali - Sign up to our Sahel Monitoring mailing list to get them straight to your inbox.

30 March 2020: Across all regions of Burkina Faso, the closure of 135 health facilities over the past months as a result of almost daily attacks by extremist groups is now complicating efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, placing almost 80,000 IDPs at risk of contagion. Source: TNH

11 March 2020: In Mandera county, along the Kenya-Somalia border, al Shabaab militants attacked a truck transporting medicine, killing both driver and assistant as part of an ongoing wider campaign against non-local Christians in northeast Kenya. The perpetrators then proceeded to torch the vehicle. Source: The Christian Post

15 March 2020: In Hulugho, Hulugho, Ijara city, Garissa county, an ambulance was fired at by members of an unidentified armed group, suspected to be Al-Shabaab, immediately after they detonated the vehicle with an IED. Three people were killed as a result. Source: Daily Nation

South Sudan
29 March 2020: In Rumbek, Lakes state, unidentified gunmen shot dead the Director of Administration and Finance at the Salva Kiir Mayardit Women's Hospital near his home. Source: Radio Tamazuj

On or before 25 March 2020: In the area of the Rapid Support Forces barracks, Khartoum state, Sudanese doctors were assaulted by military forces after the military refused to observe the screening measures set-up to control the spread of coronavirus. Source: ACLED^1^ and Sudan Tribune

On or after 31 March 2020: In Kampala, an on-duty doctor was reportedly beaten by the police for violating the COVID-19 lockdown measures introduced on 31 March. Source: ACLED^1^


16 March 2020: In Herat city and province, 38 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Shaidahe Hospital attacked staff and ran away for fear of being quarantined. Source: The New York Times

24 March 2020: In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, landlords forced their tenants who were doctors out of their rented properties over fears that they may have contracted the disease at work. Sources: Hindustan Times I, Hindustan Times II and NDTV

27 March 2020: In Pimpri Chichwad town, Pune, Maharashtra, an ambulance driver and his father were stopped and beaten by police for allegedly transporting passengers illegally in the ambulance during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The driver died as a result of his injuries. Source: Times of India

31 March 2020: Near Gondal Chowkadi, Rajkot city, Gujarat state, police officers stopped an ambulance during the COVID-19 lockdown containing the president of the Gondal-based LNGO Manav Seva Trust and assaulted the driver. The ambulance had been transporting the body of an old man - who had died from natural causes - to Gondal city. The police sub-inspector was subsequently suspended. Source: Times of India

13 March 2020: In Tainnyo village, Mrauk-U township and district, Rakhine state, the Myanmar Army attacked the Tainnyo Hospital as part of a wider attack on several villages. A bullet fired by Myanmar Army soldiers hit a patient inside the hospital. Following the attack, the hospital was temporarily closed and all staff evacuated. Source: RFA

Around 26 March 2020: In Islamabad, government officials attempted to cover up a COVID-19 death by refusing to share the patient's test results with doctors and nurses at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, and asking them not to inform journalists about the case. Source: The New York Times

26 March 2020: The failure of the Pakistani Government to impose a lockdown in a timely manner to contain the spread of COVID-19 has demotivated doctors and nurses across the country, who are now refusing to show up for work. Source: The New York Times


15 March 2020: The European Commission issued a new regulation that prohibits the export of personal protective equipment to countries outside the EU. As a result, an unnamed supplier has been unable to supply MSF teams around the globe with face masks. Source: Devex

29 March 2020: In Pendik district, Istanbul city and province, Marmara region, an unidentified individual stopped an ambulance that was en route to hospital to question the crew on whether or not the patient onboard was infected with COVID-19. As the crew refused to answer, the perpetrator tried first to punch the crew and subsequently followed the ambulance with his car, forcing it to stop, before smashing the ambulance windows with a cobblestone. Three people were subsequently detained by security forces in connection with this attack. Source: Hurriyet Daily News

Middle East North Africa

*On or before 4 March 2020: *In Rafah, Rafah, North Sinai, an ambulance transporting an injured soldier to the hospital was attacked by Islamic State militants, shooting the soldier in the head and killing him. Source: ACLED^1^

29 March 2020: In Koya district, Erbil province, a health worker was attacked and injured by a policeman. Days earlier, the health worker had transferred the policeman to the hospital to get tested for COVID-19 for having a fever. The policeman was later arrested. Source: NRT

Islamic Republic of Iran
24 March 2020: In Isfahan city, Central district, Isfahan county and province, Ministry of Health officials announced the rescindment of approvals for MSF to manage severe COVID-19 cases, claiming that Iran does not need additional treatment capacity for the management of such cases. Source: MSF

09 March 2020: In Bani Walid, Misrata district, an emergency department and an ambulance were attacked and fired at by unknown gunmen. No casualties reported. Source: ACLED^1^

12 March 2020: On the Coastal Road, Garabulli, Almargeb, a doctor and a paramedic on their way to a meeting at the Ministry of Justice to discuss the preventive measures against COVID-19 for rehabilitation institutions, were killed during an attack by Tarhouna-based Al-Kani militias of Khalifa Haftar's forces. Two other doctors were also injured. Source: Libya Observer

27 March 2020: In Abugrein area, Misrata district, shelling by General Haftar's Libyan National Army resulted in the wounding of two paramedics and the destruction of an ambulance. Source: Air Wars

Syrian Arab Republic
Around 01 March 2020: In an unidentified location, Syrian regime soldiers deployed to a military location using an ambulance, in violation of international humanitarian law. Source: SNHR

02 March 2020: In Binnesh city, Idlib governorate, Russian warplanes fired missiles near the Islamic Medical Complex Hospital, damaging the building. Source: SNHR and Airwars

02 March 2020: Near Binnesh city, Idlib governorate, missile fired by Russian warplanes at a Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) ambulance which was travelling to the site of a previous bombing by the pro-Syrian government alliance left the vehicle severely damaged. Source: SNHR

14 March 2020: In al Atareb city, Aleppo governorate, Hay'at Tahrir al Sham militia shot a male ambulance driver working for the Qatar Red Crescent in a raid on his brother's house. Source: SNHR

14 March 2020: In Ariha town and district, Idlib governorate, unidentified armed men broke into the sub-branch of the SARC, during which staff and volunteers were detained, property was damaged, and aid was stolen. Source: ICRC

07 March 2020: In Lawdar town and district, Abyan governorate, an ambulance drove over an IED, injuring seven civilians onboard. Source: CIMP

13 March 2020: In Taiz city and governorate, artillery shells of unidentified origin hit the Aththaorah Hospital. Source: CIMP

14 March 2020: The Yemeni Government and Houthi authorities imposed a ban on all inbound and outbound flights to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a result, UNHAS operated its last flight from Sana'a on 16 March, and from Aden on 17 March. INGOs have been forced to scale back to essential staff only. WHO-run medical evacuations have been halted. An anti-aid fraud scheme using fingerprint technology was put on hold. Source: TNH

20 March 2020: In Aden, two male Emirati Red Crescent aid workers were kidnapped by unidentified armed perpetrators. They were later found dead. Source: Al Jazeera and The New Arab

20 March 2020: In Al Hali district, Al Hudaydah governorate, artillery shells of unidentified origin hit the May 22 Hospital. Source: CIMP

26 March 2020: In rebel-held areas, Houthi authorities have imposed strict restrictions aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19, forcing the USAID to partially suspend humanitarian assistance to 70 percent of the Yemeni population. This suspension is believed to leave Yemen vulnerable to contagion. Source: The Washington Times

30 March 2020: In As Salif district, Al Hudaydah governorate, airstrikes of unidentified origin hit a COVID-19 quarantine centre. Source: CIMP

The Americas

03 March 2020: In Narino department, renewed violence between armed groups and fear of reprisals have been preventing aid organisations, including MSF, from reaching 14,000 people in need of assistance. Source: Doctors Without Borders

04 March 2020: In many parts of Colombia, forced displacement and attacks perpetrated by the FARC against medical missions have increased, worsening the humanitarian situation in the country. Source: Reuters

Global Health Insecurity
These events go beyond the definition used by the SHCC to cover a wider range of events that affect the provision of health care including events perpetrated by patients or relatives of patients, private individuals and criminals as well as significant strike action or protests by health care personnel.


02 March 2020: In Dhegahbur zone, Somali regional state, the director of the Dhegahbur Hospital was stabbed multiple times in the evening by an unidentified attacker with a knife. The victim survived and the perpetrator was arrested. Source: Addis Standard

19 March 2020: In Abuja, as COVID-19 cases across Nigeria began to rise, doctors led by the Associate of Resident Doctors, Abuja chapter, led an indefinite strike as they had not been paid their basic salaries for over two months. Sources: All Africa and TNH

South Africa
22 March 2020: In Butterworth town, Mnquma municipality, Amathole district, Eastern Cape province, a male nurse at the Butterworth Hospital attempted to steal four boxes of face masks but was apprehended by security personnel who had caught them in the act. Source: All Africa

The Americas

02 March 2020: In Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, Ruth Cardoso's Municipal Hospital was stormed by two armed men who broke the door, invaded the ICU and shot at a patient who was being treated from a previous murder attempt nine days earlier. Source: G1

08 March 2020: In the South Zone of São Paulo city, a patient who was being treated from gunshot wounds was shot again at least 25 times at the emergency of Heliopolis hospital by an armed individual who had entered the hospital searching for him. The perpetrator escaped with the help of another individual on a motorcycle. The Hospital's emergency department closed as a result. Source: Agora