Will MSF remain in Somalia?

Médecins Sans Frontières is "reviewing its ability" to maintain its operations in Somalia following the shooting incident that led to the death of two of its staff last week. Photo by: raffaelebrustia / CC BY-NC-SA

The international humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières is “reviewing its ability” to maintain its operations in Somalia following the shooting incident that led to the death of two of its staff members.

On Thursday, Philippe Havet, a Belgian national, and Andrias Karel Keiluhu, an Indonesian, were shot by a disgruntled employee in the organization’s compound in Mogadishu. Havet died on the spot, while Keiluhu was brought to Madina Hospital to undergo surgery. He died the same evening.

MSF Belgium general director Christopher Stokes told The Associated Press the latest attacks on its staff, including the still unresolved kidnapping of its two Spanish aid workers, have increased concern and pressure on the organization.

Stokes said Somalia is one of the hardest environments to work in and is among the countries with pressing needs.

“In Mogadishu you have incredible rates of malnutrition. We have cholera cases and direct victims of the fighting. This is the dilemma really,” he said.

Aid workers have increasingly become targets of violence in recent months. In December, three Somali aid workers working in a refugee camp in Mataban town were also shot and killed. Two of them, Muhyedin Yarrow and Mohamed Salad, were from the World Food Program, while the other one, Abdulahi Ali, was from Doyale, a local nongovernmental organization.

Meanwhile, UNICEF staff member Fred Simiyu Willis, who was injured in a suicide bombing in August at the U.N. office in Abuja, Nigeria, succumbed to death last month at a hospital in South Africa, where he has been receiving treatment since the attack. This raises the bombing’s death toll to 25, of which 13 are U.N. staff members.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.