MSF condemns violent armed intrusion in hospital
KABUL (Pajhwok): Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Saturday condemned the violent intrusion by armed members of Afghan Special Forces in the organisation’s trauma centre in northern Kunduz province, a statement released by the MSF said.
“The incident is an unacceptable breach of International Humanitarian Law, which protects medical services from attacks,” the statement added.
On Wednesday, it said that heavily armed men from Afghan Special Forces entered the MSF hospital compound, cordoned-off the facility and began shooting in the air.
The armed men physically assaulted three MSF staff members and entered the hospital with weapons and then arrested three patients, the statement added. After approximately one hour, the armed men released the three patients and left the hospital compound, it added.
“We are shocked by this incident,” says Dr. Bart Janssens, MSF’s director of operations. “Since it opened in 2011, Kunduz Trauma Centre has been a place where all patients can receive free medical and surgical care safely. This serious event puts at risk the lives of thousands of people who rely on the centre for urgent care.”
MSF’s centre is the only facility of its kind in the whole north-eastern region of Afghanistan providing high level life- and limb- saving trauma care. In 2014, more than 22,000 patients received care at the hospital and more than 5,900 surgeries were performed.
MSF has a strict no weapons policy in all its facilities. The threats to MSF personnel and patients and the inability to provide medical care in a safe environment, forces us to temporarily suspend activities at Kunduz Trauma Centre. “We have requested urgent meetings with the Ministers of Defense and Interior to seek official assurances that our medical work will be respected and such an incident will not occur again,” the statement said.
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