Chad: ICRC employee shot and wounded

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On 26 July an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was shot and wounded in Abéché after two vehicles carrying ICRC personnel were stopped by armed men, some of whom were in military uniform.

The incident took place around 7.45 p.m., close to the district where the delegates live. After setting off from the ICRC’s sub-delegation in Abéché, the two vehicles, with two ICRC delegates on board, were held up by several men armed with assault rifles. The delegate in the second vehicle suffered a gunshot wound. The person was immediately transferred to the hospital of the Italian EUFOR forces in Abéché and underwent an operation that night. On 27 July the delegate, whose condition is no longer life-threatening, was evacuated to Switzerland for further medical follow-up.
This serious incident is the latest example of the poor security conditions in eastern Chad, which have been deteriorating for several months. People as well as property are increasingly being targeted. The total impunity that prevails in this part of the country further encourages the violence.

''This attack has profoundly shaken us all, and of course we want first and foremost to support our colleague and the family concerned. However, we must remember that the poor security conditions which have affected us directly today are a daily reality for thousands of civilians in Chad,” said Catherine Deman, head of the ICRC’s delegation in N’Djamena.

The incident has deeply shocked the ICRC teams working in the country. The delegation in Chad has spoken to senior representatives of the Chadian civilian and military authorities and requested a serious and in-depth enquiry, with regular progress updates. The way the enquiry is conducted will demonstrate the Chadian authorities’ willingness to address deteriorating security conditions in eastern Chad.

''Following this incident and on the basis of our discussions with the Chadian authorities, we will consider how to continue assisting the victims of the conflicts and violence in Chad,” said Catherine Deman. The ICRC is present throughout the region: in addition to the sub-delegation in Abéché, the organization has an office in Goz Beida and seven bases in the border area.
The ICRC reiterates that, under international humanitarian law, aid workers must be spared and protected from all acts of violence. Moreover, vehicles bearing the red cross emblem and their occupants benefit from the protection afforded by this emblem.

International Committee of the Red Cross