Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) strongly condemns the killing last Thursday of their colleague Gaulbert Mokafe, assistant nurse at the Batangafo hospital in Central African Republic (CAR), at the hands of an armed group. MSF once again calls on all armed groups involved in the conflict in CAR to comply with international law on conflicts and to respect the safety and security of medical activities, medical professionals and healthcare facilities.
Gaulbert Mokafe was 41 and had worked at the Batangafo hospital, where MSF operates in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, since 2012. He had a wife and five children. He was murdered on Thursday afternoon on the road between Batangafo and the neighbouring city of Bouca. Gaulbert was traveling by motorcycle to visit his family. MSF has found out that our colleague was forced to stop by a group of armed men and was held by them in a nearby forest. Mokafe was killed, for unknown reasons, by a shot to the heart.
"If those responsible for the death of Gaulbert or their relatives had needed medical attention, Gaulbert would have taken care of them. His death is a cowardly crime, which has left the MSF family in Batangafo and in CAR shocked and outraged. It is unacceptable,” said Omar Abenza, MSF head of mission in CAR. "We demand that armed groups control their members and ensure the protection of the population while respecting the health personnel, from whom they and their families also benefit. We want to continue offering medical and humanitarian assistance, but for this we need to work with security and everybody has to own to their responsibilities.”
As a sign of respect for Gaulbert and his relatives, MSF will hold two days of mourning in Batangafo next Wednesday and Thursday.
MSF conveys their deepest condolences to his family.
MSF has been working in the CAR since 1997. MSF currently has more than 200 international staff and more than 2,000 national staff working in the country. MSF operates 11 regular projects (in Batangafo, Carnot, Kabo, Paoua, Bria, Bossangoa, Bangassou, Bangui, Bambari and Boguila), and deploys emergency projects, depending on the need, recently in Alindao, Ippy, Bocaranga, Mbaiki or Pombolo.