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Bringing aid and being a target


Posted by George Fominyen, AlertNet‘s humanitarian affairs correspondent for West and Central Africa, based in Dakar. He is also West Africa coordinator for Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Emergency Information Service.

The abduction of two Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers in Chad this month after a robbery at their compound near Sudan’s Darfur region has again brought to the fore the question of attacks on aid workers.

Aid workers in Chad told me assaults on compounds and car-jacking on the roads happen every week and that armed bandits are their biggest worry. But Chad is not unique. There have been at least 16 reported attacks on humanitarian workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo between January and June this year, according to statistics from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Fifteen of these attacks involved guns and in one case the attackers took hostages.