Statement of UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the kidnapping of MSF staff at Kenya's Dadaab

Press Releases, 13 October 2011

GENEVA, 13 October (UNHCR) UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, today expressed his deep shock and indignation at the violent abduction at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya of two female MSF staff and the shooting of their driver.

"These MSF colleagues were working to rescue lives," he said. "It is wholly unacceptable that they should be made targets for kidnap. I appeal to those responsible to facilitate their immediate and safe return."

The Dadaab refugee complex is the world's largest refugee camp and currently hosts 463,739 Somali refugees. The camp's population has swollen this year with the arrival in Kenya of more than 190,000 refugees from Somalia.

The two MSF staff members were abducted from the Ifo extension area of the camp at around 13:20 local time today. Their driver, who was shot, is receiving urgent medical attention in Nairobi.

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Dollow: Help inside Somalia

Dollow is a dusty Somali border town with a bridge, 3 km from the Dollo Ado refugee camps across the river in Ethiopia. But many of Dollow's most recent inhabitants are internally displaced people (IDPs) who have no intention of crossing the bridge - constructed with UNHCR's help over 20 years ago - to seek humanitarian assistance. Displaced by drought and famine from the Somali regions of Gedo, Bay and Bakool, these agro-pastoralists overwhelmingly express their wish to return home if the seasonal rains come in October and it is safe to do so.

UNHCR and other UN agencies are providing aid through a variety of local NGOs. Shelter, emergency assistance packages and dry food rations are being distributed while a wet feeding centre provides much-needed sustenance to the estimated 2,000 IDPs in Dollow.

Dollow: Help inside Somalia