Six aid groups suspend work in Chad after killing

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Red Cross in Chad
Image: Mark Knobil.
Médecins Sans Frontières in Chad
Image: Mark Knobil.

Six aid groups have suspended work in Chad today after the killing of one aid worker, a rash of banditry, and a kidnapping, according to the United Nations. The UN says about 37,000 people will be affected in some way by the move.

UN spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs noted that the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) are among those to halt operations. "To date, five NGOs [non-governmental organisations] and the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] have temporarily suspended their activities in the east," Byrs said. "Serious acts of banditry in eastern Chad over the last two weeks jeopardise the continuity of humanitarian operations."

This comes soon after a worker for the Red Cross, Laurent Maurice, was kidnapped earlier in the week and another local aid worker for the Solidarités agency was killed.

Over fifty attacks on humanitarian aid workers in Chad have been made this year by bandits. Relief workers are targeted by criminals because they have valuables and vehicles.