Assaulted and shot at - MSF evacuates DRC Dungu team for safety reasons
29 August 2002
Geneva/Kampala - During the night of Tuesday, August 28, the MSF mission in Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was made the object of three violent intrusions by armed soldiers. The MSF team was physically threatened. Because of these events, the organisation decided to evacuate its team of five expats to Kampala, capital of Uganda, the next day. Dungu, located in the north-east of the DRC, is currently on the front line of two advancing rebellious factions, the DRC National and the DRC Kisangani/ML. For several weeks already, and following an intensification of offensives, most of the population had already left Dungu and the neighbouring villages in order to hide in the forest. The MSF team that had received guarantees of safety from various wars chiefs had decided to remain in place in order to be able to maintain the operation of the hospital in Dungu. However on three occasions during the night of August 28, armed soldiers entered the MSF compound by force. in order to plunder the supplies while physically threatening MSF staff. Some shots were fired towards the interior of the compound and several stray bullets struck the interior of the expat's residence. Fortunately, none of the expats were wounded. For reasons of safety and until a clarification of the events, the MSF team has been evacuated, temporarily, to Kampala. MSF has been working in Dungu since July 2001 providing material and medical support for the Dungu reference hospital. MSF is also rehabilitating parts of the hospital to improve hygiene and patient care. In addition, MSF ensures the supply of drugs and laboratory materials for the hospital and organizes advanced courses for the medical personnel. MSF is an international organization which brings medical and humanitarian assistance to victims of war, conflicts and natural disasters. The aid is provided without discrimination according to race, religion, philosophy or policy.