MSF volunteer abducted in Colombia

International medical aid organization calls for immediate release
Press release: Bogota, 28 July 2000 - A volunteer working in Colombia with the international medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was abducted last Tuesday, 25 July, in the Department of Choco. The volunteer, a French citizen, was working as a laboratory assistant for a humanitarian aid project operated by MSF in the municipality of Tado (Department of Choco).

The abduction occurred while the MSF volunteer was driving from Tado to Bogota in a car which was clearly identifiable as an MSF vehicle. He was stopped between Guarato Department of Choco, and Santa Cecilia, Department of Risaralda. The captors claimed to be members of the Guevarist Revolutionary Army (Ejercito Revolucionario Guevarista, or ERG).

"We call for the immediate release of our colleague, and ask that nothing should be done that could threaten his life or physical safety," said Guillermo Bertoletti, program officer for the mission in Choco. "Moreover, we appealed to the Colombian Minister of the Interior to avoid any action that could endanger the life of our colleague."

MSF runs a primary health-care project in the rural area of Tado. The aim of the project is to facilitate access to health care for the population. The organization's activities include mobile teams that bring preventive and curative medical assistance to the villages throughout the municipality.

Médecins Sans Frontières is a non-governmental organization that delivers medical aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics, and natural or man-made disasters, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliations.

MSF's medical assistance is based on the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence from all political, economic or religious powers.