Doctors Without Borders Exits Somalia, Slams Leaders

Group leaving after 22 years after repeated attacks on aid workers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2013 9:56 AM CDT
A young Somali boy being treated for malnutrition drinks therapeutic milk at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kenya.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(Newser) – The aid group Doctors Without Borders said today it is pulling out of Somalia after 22 years there because of attacks on its staff. In a scathing indictment of Somalia's leaders, the group, also known by its French initials as MSF, said the decision is the result of "extreme attacks on its staff in an environment where armed groups and civilian leaders increasingly support, tolerate, or condone the killing, assaulting, and abducting of humanitarian aid workers."

MSF has seen 16 staff members killed in Somalia since 1991, including two killed in 2011 in Mogadishu. MSF today pointed to those two deaths and "the subsequent early release of the convicted killer" in contributing to its decision. The group said the pull-out will cut off hundreds of thousands of Somali civilians from humanitarian aid. "In choosing to kill, attack, and abduct humanitarian aid workers, these armed groups, and the civilian authorities who tolerate their actions, have sealed the fate of countless lives in Somalia," said Dr. Unni Karunakara, MSF's international president.

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