UN Refugee Chief condemns attack on staff in Mali

Mali. As security improves in Timbuktu, a young refugee family returns

UNHCR officers assess a family's needs upon their return to their home in Timbuktu. Their house had been pillaged and damaged while they were in exile.   © UNHCR/Ibrahim Idrissa

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi expressed shock and outrage after unknown attackers fired shots at a UNHCR vehicle in Timbuktu, Mali on Tuesday – injuring two staff members. The vehicle came under fire despite being clearly identified with the UN Refugee Agency’s logo. Both of the injured are currently receiving medical care.

“I am deeply shocked by such an attack on our colleagues in Timbuktu, who are providing assistance and protection to those fleeing violence,” High Commissioner Grandi said.

“Our colleagues are working tirelessly in Mali, under some of the most challenging conditions,” he said, “and for such an  act to happen just as we observed World Humanitarian Day is a painful reminder of the risks to those who put their lives on the line every day to save the lives of others”.

Grandi repeated his call for the protection of humanitarian workers saying, “such an attack does not diminish our resolve to continue working to provide protection to those displaced by conflict. All our thoughts are with our colleagues and to their families, with hopes for a swift recovery.”

In 2016, there were 158 major attacks against humanitarian aid operations globally, with a total of 288 aid workers killed, injured or kidnapped – including three UNHCR staff who endured 23 days in captivity in Darfur.


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