Two abducted MSF staff released in Somalia

Brussels - Two Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff, abducted on April 19 in the Bakool region of Somalia, were safely released today.

“We are incredibly relieved that our colleagues are safe and in good health.” said Dag Horntvedt, MSF’s interim Head of Mission for Somalia. “Their families have been informed and are overjoyed. We are now working on getting the two reunited with their relatives and friends as quickly as possible, and giving them all the support they may need for dealing with their experiences.”

The Belgian doctor and Dutch medical coordinator were abducted when returning from a medical supervision visit in Radbhure. On several occasions since, they managed to inform their families and colleagues, at times through the media, that they were doing as best as could be expected.

“The release of our colleagues was made possible through an impressive support of communities and leaders in Bakool and Bay, as well as in other parts of Somalia,” explained Horntvedt. “Their spontaneous mobilisation for liberating our colleagues has made all the difference. This support illustrates the appreciation from the communities and their leaders for the tireless efforts of our Somali staff and international staff to bring assistance to their people.”

But Horntvedt emphasised the outrage of his organisation about the abduction. “In a country like Somalia, where so many people rely on international humanitarian assistance, such acts effectively put in danger much of the health care that the population has access to.”