Sudanese MSF aid worker killed in South Darfur

Aid workers increasingly at risk; the neutrality of humanitarian workers should be respected
Amsterdam - International medical relief organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is shocked by the murder of one of its Sudanese aid workers in South Darfur. According to reliable reports the aid worker was killed on Friday, December 17, during an attack led by Government troops on Labado in South Darfur. The man was shot dead in front of the MSF warehouse in Labado town while off duty. "We are not able to verify the death of our staff, because it is not yet secure to send a team," said emergency co-ordinator Ton Koene. "Other national staff members who were present in the town are still missing. MSF employs 38 national staff in Labado of whom 29 are still unaccounted for today." Labado, a town with a population of 27,000, has been the scene of fighting over the past few days. The first people who fled the fighting are already arriving on foot in the towns of Shariya (50kms north of Labado) and Kalma (100kms west of Labado). It is unclear where the majority of the population have fled. The MSF team in Kalma camp, close to Nyala, reported more than 70 new families coming from the fighting. Eyewitnesses have told MSF teams that Labado town is empty and destroyed. Most people who were living in Labado had sought refuge there from previous fighting in other regions. MSF has been present in Labado since September 4, 2004, and has been the only international organisation providing continuous assistance to this population. MSF runs a feeding centre and clinic in the Labado. However, since the fighting erupted last week, the team has been unable to reach the town. Aid workers are increasingly at risk in Darfur. Several organisations have lost staff. This is the second Sudanese nationality MSF aid worker who has been killed over the last three months. MSF calls upon all parties to respect the neutrality of humanitarian organisations, their staff and the work they do.