On October 28, 2021, a team of five people from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), travelled to the Bambu health district in Ituri province to assist isolated communities.
When the team were travelling back at around 15:50, unidentified gunmen fired at the MSF vehicle for an unexplained reason, with two members of the team sustaining bullet wounds – one in the right armpit and another in their pelvis. Our two injured colleagues have since received healthcare and are in a stable condition. The entire team was later evacuated to the town of Bunia.
"This is unacceptable - we condemn all forms of violence against the medical mission, our patients and staff," said Frédéric Lai Manantsoa, MSF Head of Mission in Ituri.
"We are shocked by this news and alarmed at the violence that is raging in the province. This is the second serious incident that has occurred in the past few months - this time involving a vehicle clearly identified as medical and humanitarian."
The convoy came under fire even though it was clearly showing the MSF name and emblem. MSF teams work according to the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, and independence.
Last June, MSF expressed its outrage at the destruction and looting of the General Referral Hospital of Boga, which was the last remaining health facility in the district. MSF had coordinated its rehabilitation, with many years of effort going up in smoke in a matter of minutes.
"Violence against civilians is a constant fact of life in this area and insecurity is growing, but still we need to try to reach people who need medical care," concludes the head of mission.
MSF’s activities in the health zone of Bambu are temporarily suspended.
In Ituri, MSF supports three general hospitals, 12 health centres, four health posts and 32 community health posts in the Drodro, Nizi and Angumu health districts. We provide pediatric care and mental health services, treat malnutrition and malaria and assist survivors of sexual violence.