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Attacks on Health Care Monthly News Brief - May 2021

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No Respite: Violence Against Health Care in Conflict

The 2021 Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition's report documents 806 incidents of violence against or obstruction of health care in 2020. Health workers were killed, kidnapped, injured and assaulted and health facilities and transport damaged and destroyed. Access the data.
Factsheets and individual datasets are available for: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR,
DRC, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh, Nigeria, oPt, Somalia,
South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

SHCC Attacks on Health Care

The section aligns with the definition of attacks on health care used by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC).


Burkina Faso

As reported on 05 May 2021: Update: An 82-year-old Australian male surgeon — kidnapped on 05 January 2016 by the Ansar Dine militant group — remains held captive. Source: France 24


11 May 2021: MSF began negotiations with the Ministry of External Relations to relaunch activities in the Northwest region after its operations were suspended in December 2020 over accusations of aiding armed groups. Source: HumAngle 17 May 2021: In Kumbo town, Bui division, Northwest region, 11 educators of the Baptist Training School for Health Personnel at Banso Baptist Hospital Kumbo were kidnapped by Ambazonian separatists. All were released two days later. Sources: Mimi Mefo Info I and Mimi Mefo Info II

Democratic Republic of Congo

01 May 2021: In Nzenga I village, Beni territory, North Kivu province, a health centre and a house were set on fire during armed conflict between Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Armed Forces (FARDC). Source: Kivu Security Tracker 04 May 2021: In Dhema village, Djugu territory, Ituri province, a health facility was looted and several schools and homes set on fire by Cooperative for Development of Congo (CODECO) militants.
Source: Bunia Actualite 05 May 2021: In Bijojo village, Uvira Territory, South Kivu province, a nurse was killed by the Gumino armed group. Source: Kivu Security Tracker 10 May 2021: In Kiyeye town, Bwito chiefdom, North Kivu province, armed men kidnapped a nurse posted at the Kiyeye health centre. She was released a day later. Source: Radio Moto


16 May 2021: In Axum town, Maekelay zone, Tigray region, Ethiopian soldiers armed with machine guns, sniper rifles and grenades raided the University Teaching and Referral Hospital in what appears to be retribution for a CNN investigation that exposed Ethiopian and Eritrean troops blocking aid to patients. The soldiers appeared to be looking for pro-TPLF fighters, as they questioned patients, intimidated caretakers and threatened health workers, contaminated the operating room, and stopped all surgical operations. The soldiers returned on 17 May to search for people they accused of tarnishing Ethiopia’s image in news reports, and demanded a list of the names of doctors who will not cooperate with the army’s investigation. Sources: Barron’s and CNN


01 May 2021: In Keroka town, Nyamira and Kisii counties, Nyanza province, police officers enforcing a COVID-19 curfew blocked a taxi carrying a couple and their sick four-month-old baby en route to the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital. Despite having a referral letter, police insisted they had defied curfew, forcing them to take an alternative route. By the time they arrived an hour later, the baby had died. Source: BBC


19 May 2021: At Adiora village, Gourma-Rharous subdivision, Tombouctou region, a health worker and a driver conducting a measles vaccination campaign were abducted by suspected Katiba Gourma (JNIM) militants. Source: ACLED1


As reported on 17 May 2021: In Oyigbo LGA, Rivers state, unidentified perpetrators entered a secret clinic where four patients were being treated for gunshot wounds. All four patients and a nurse were shot and killed. According to witnesses, the perpetrators were police, a claim disputed by the police. The patients were allegedy involved in the murder of seven policemen. Sources: Council on Foreign Relations, Sahara Reporters and Vanguard 23 May 2021: In Ibadan city, Oyo state, gunmen abducted a doctor and wife of the youth leader of All Progressives Congress party while she was driving home in an ambulance. Source: Punch

South Sudan

12 May 2021: Along the Chukudum-Camp 15 road, Budi county, Eastern Equatoria state, unidentified perpetrators fired gunshots at a clearly marked aid four-vehicle convoy carrying an INGO team and government health workers en route to a health facility, killing a male reproductive health expert and injuring a driver. Sources: Daily Monitor, Garda, GCR2P, Radio Miraya and Nation and OCHA 21 May 2021: In Ganyiel Payam village, Panyijar county, Unity state, unidentified perpetrators killed a South Sudanese doctor working at an IRC-supported health centre. In response, the IRC suspended activities in the area. Sources: Alarabiya, Eye Radio I, Eye Radio II, Eye Radio III,
Eye Radio IV, Eye Radio V, GCR2P and Sudan Tribune 21 May 2021: In Koch county, Unity state, unidentified perpetrators attacked a humanitarian convoy, including an ambulance. Source: GCR2P


31 May 2021: The president of the Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ), who was organising strike action via zoom demanding the recruitment of 500 doctors and salary arrears, had his practise license suspended and threatened with arrest by police. The doctors who participated in the zoom meeting were also threatened. Source: Club of Mozambique