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Africa

Doctors Without Borders staff murdered in Somalia

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-30

French medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders confirmed Friday that two of its workers, a Belgian and an Indonesian, were gunned down in Mogadishu. The group said it would relocate some staff, but that it was committed to remaining in Somalia.

AFP - Medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders confirmed Friday that two staff members, a Belgian and an Indonesian, were killed by a gunman in the war-torn Somali capital Mogadishu.

"It is with great sadness that Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF - Doctors Without Borders) confirms that two MSF staff members were killed yesterday... as a result of a shooting in the organisation's compound," a statement said.

Philippe Havet, a 53-year-old emergency coordinator from Belgium, and Andrias Karel Keiluhu, known as Kace, a 44-year old doctor from Indonesia, were helping provide emergency medical assistance in famine-hit Mogadishu.

Havet was killed during the shooting, but Keiluhu died after surgery in hospital in Mogadishu, the organisation added.

"We are deeply shocked by this tragic event and we will greatly miss Philippe and Kace," MSF said.

The bodies were flown out of the Horn of Africa nation Friday to Kenya, along with other international staff, said Somali security official Mohamed Ibrahim.

"The dead bodies of the two MSF workers have been taken to Nairobi, they were picked from Medina hospital where one of them died on Thursday night," he said.

The shooting was the latest attack on humanitarian officials in Somalia, one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers, but MSF said it remained committed to help the people of Somalia.

"MSF will be relocating some staff for security reasons, but remains committed to continuing our humanitarian work in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia," the statement added.

Security forces arrested the gunman, who witnesses and police identified as a Somali employee with MSF.

"The exact circumstances of the shooting are not yet clear," MSF added. "Our priority is to take care of those most affected by this tragedy, in particular the families and the colleagues of the victims."

Havet had worked with MSF since 2000 in several countries, including Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Somalia.

Keiluhu had worked with MSF since 1998 in his native Indonesia as well as in Ethiopia, Thailand and Somalia.

Somalia, ravaged by nearly uninterrupted civil war for the past two decades was also the Horn of Africa country hardest hit by this year's bruising drought.

Three regions of south Somalia are in a state of famine, and close on 250,000 people are in danger of dying of starvation, according to the UN.

Last week a gunman killed three Somali aid workers, including two World Food Programme staff, in the central Hiran region.

In mid-October two Spaniards working for MSF were seized by gunmen in Kenya's giant Dadaab camp, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the Somali border and home to thousands of Somali refugees, and taken to Somalia by their captors.

MSF has been working in Somalia since 1991, providing medical care including nutritional support and vaccination campaigns, as well as aiding the hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees who have fled to surrounding nations

Date created : 2011-12-30

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