MSF shocked and saddened by killing of staff in Somalia

December 29, 2011

MSF shocked and saddened by killing of staff in Somalia

We will sorely miss Philippe and Kace; their energy, humour and commitment (both are 10 year MSF veterans). Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to their loved ones.

Mogadishu, It is with great sadness that Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) confirms that two MSF staff members were killed on Thursday (December 29, 2011) as a result of a shooting in the organisation’s compound in Mogadishu.

While one of the aid workers died during the shooting, the other was transferred to a hospital and died after surgery.

The victims are Belgian and Indonesian nationals. Philippe Havet, a 53-year-old from Belgium, was an experienced emergency coordinator who had been working with MSF since 2000 in many countries, including Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Somalia.

Andrias Karel Keiluhu, better known as ‘Kace’, was a 44-year-old medical doctor who had worked with MSF since 1998 in his native Indonesia as well as in Ethiopia, Thailand and Somalia.

Despite stringent security rules (for example, metal detector use) an MSF Somali logistics assistant got into the MSF compound with a gun. The staff member opened fire inside the MSF office. Philippe died immediately, Kace later in the evening following surgery.

We believe the shooting was a result of the non-renewal of the individual's contract, a decision taken with clear support from the community, as he was suspected of theft.

This was an act of violence by an individual, not related to any politics. Somalia is a lawless environment and every man has a gun.

MSF is faced with a terrible dilemma now. Our medical teams wish to maintain life-saving activities in Mogadishu and Somalia but must now review levels of exposure and risk. The people of Somalia are the victims of this violence as much as MSF is. Abandoning them is the last option for us.

Also, while we grieve for Kace and Philippe, we continue to ask for the release of our MSF colleagues kidnapped on the 13th October, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya, currently thought to be in held in Somalia.

MSF teams have worked in Somalia since 1991 and currently operate 13 projects there. MSF also assists Somali refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia.

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