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Doctors Without Borders demands better security in Yemen after hospital attack

/ 10:20 AM October 30, 2015
Masoom Stanekzai

Afghanistan’s acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the defense ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Stanekzai said Monday that the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz that was bombed by US forces on Oct. 3 killing at least 22 people and wounding many more, was being used by Taliban insurgents and possibly Pakistani operatives as a “safe place.” Doctors Without Borders also known by its French acronym MSF, has repeatedly denied the presence of Taliban fighters on the hospital compound at the time of the attack. AP

PARIS — Doctors Without Borders is seeking security guarantees to continuing working in Yemen after a hospital it supports was bombed, and an explanation for what happened.

Mego Terzian, president of MSF France, said Thursday that he and the group’s board “won’t be ready to send at any price our personnel in countries where there is huge danger.”

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Speaking to reporters in Paris after Monday’s bombing in the northern province of Saada, he said, “We need to have minimum guarantees that our humanitarian space is secure.”

READ: Fact-finding group ready to probe deadly Kunduz airstrike | Air strike on Medecins San Frontières

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One nurse was injured by the airstrikes apparently targeting Yemen’s Shiite rebels. MSF says it wasn’t the first time the hospital had been damaged by attacks.

It says it shares the hospital’s GPS coordinates regularly with the Saudi-led coalition targeting the rebels, and its roof was clearly identified with its logo.

Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, operates in eight Yemeni governorates, while many foreign aid groups and even U.N. personnel have been evacuated.

The attack came weeks after US gunships bombed an MSF hospital in Afghanistan, killing 30.

In Yemen, a Saudi-led, US-backed coalition has been launching airstrikes against the rebels, also known as Houthis, and their allies. Saada, the Houthis stronghold, has faced a particularly intense bombardment.

After initial confusion, Saudi authorities denied their forces hit the hospital. MSF dismissed that claim Thursday.

“This is an alarming sign for the Yemeni people and for those trying to assist them. How are we to draw lessons from what happened when all we face are denials?” MSF said in a statement. “How can we continue to work without any form of commitment that civilian structures will be spared?”

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TAGS: Afghanistan, Bombing, Doctors Without Borders, gunships, hospital, MSF France, Security, US, Yemen
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