French NGO worker murdered in Chad

A French "Save the Children" worker was shot and killed by highwaymen in eastern Chad, his employer said, in what France's Foreign Minister Bernard Koucher branded a "barbaric" attack. (Report: N. Rushworth)


Pascal Marlinge, a French national working for the humanitarian organization Save the Children, was shot to death by “highwaymen” in the eastern region of Chad.


On Thursday night, the Chadian national police found his car over 100km from the assassination site. Marlinge, age 49, had been part of a three-vehicle convoy.  Greg Graham, Adjunct Director of international missions at Save the Children in London, told FRANCE 24: “He directed our programmes in Chad and was on the way to visit our base on the Sudanese border when his vehicle was attacked.”


The convoy had departed from Farchana, in eastern Chad, reaching its destination in Hajir Hadid, 30 km southward and close to the Sudanese border, when it was overtaken by highwaymen. Save the Children reported, “The convoy was stopped, one or two shots were fired, and Pascal Marlinge was killed. The other four aid workers were unharmed.” UNICEF workers figured among the convoy.


One section of EUFOR (European Union forces), currently set aside to protect Darfur refugees, was set into action immediately. “We had EUFOR forces patrolling an area less than 15 minutes from the area of attack,” said Lieutentant-Colonel Jean Axelos, EUFOR spokesman in Chad.


One part of the EUFOR unit stayed to secure the rest of the convoy; the other section went after the bandits. Their efforts were in vain.


Mahamat Hissene, Chadian Minister of Communication, rejects any connection between this incident ant the Zoe’s Ark scandal, which had operated in Chad under the name Children Rescue. He told FRANCE 24, “At the moment, we mourn the death of a friend who came to help us. We do not make any link between this tragedy and Zoe’s Ark.


He continued, “We are waiting until the patrollers deployed to the region gather more information regarding the identity of the murderers.”


The French Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner decried the assassination as “a barbaric, ignoble act” and demanded that the Chadian authorities do an investigation.

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