AU, UNICEF condemn killing of health workers in Somalia

BRAZIL - 2019/06/01: In this photo illustration a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday in separate statements condemned the abduction and deliberate killing of seven health workers and a civilian at a local health center in southern Somalia.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said these heinous attacks interfere with fundamental protections of the right to health and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

“These health workers were heroes, putting their safety on the line every day to provide lifesaving care to children and families. We will hold their dedication and sacrifice in our hearts as we continue our work to reach vulnerable children across the country,” Fore said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.

The eight people were abducted on May 27 from an NGO-run health clinic, about 30 kilometers away from Mogadishu, before their brutal killing.

Francois Madeira, AMISOM head of mission, said the health workers continue to provide much-needed quality healthcare as Somalia continues to face the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am shocked by the senseless killings of civilians. Deliberate attacks against health professionals and facilities are a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law and constitute a war crime in non-international armed conflicts,” said Madeira.

He said the health workers are putting their lives on the line to save others in very difficult circumstances.

No arrest has so far been made and no group has claimed responsibility for the murder.

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