sad day for humanity
On 4 June three ICRC delegates were murdered
in cold blood in Burundi. When this was followed by death
threats to their colleagues who remained in the country, the
organisation had no choice but to evacuate its expatriate
staff and suspend all activities.
The ICRC was the only humanitarian agency providing
continuous assistance to all the victims of the conflict,
including in the most-troubled areas. At every opportunity
it explained its role and its principles of neutral-ity and
impartiality to all the warring parties. Officially, it enjoyed
their full and unanimous support. How, then, can we explain
this wilful act of barbarity directed against our representatives?
With killings escalating into full-scale massacres,
a remorseless wave of hatred has swept across Burundi. The
events of October and November 1993, when each of the two
ethnic groups were in turn victim and executioner, set the
seal on this tragedy. A truly genocidal mentality has since
taken hold of many individuals who can see no way out of the
crisis other than the complete physical elimination of the
enemy, whether prisoner, patient, woman or child. This amounts
to the total negation of everything international humanitarian
law stands for. Rational and moderate people – most
of the population – have been reduced to silence, for
whoever dares challenge this murderous way of thinking is
considered one of the enemy and treated as such. The ICRC
learned this lesson quite painfully last June.
Throughout the Great Lakes region, the absence
of a political solution has led to a general deterioration
in security conditions. Assassinations, attacks and reprisals,
laying of mines and ethnic cleansing have become the order
of the day. Although the local people bear the brunt of the
violence, the relief organisations have not emerged unscathed.
In May and June, no less than 20 employees of different organisations
– including three from the Federation – lost their
lives in the North Kivu region.
Danielle Coquoz, Deputy Delegate
General for Africa, ICRC
Lives on the line
I feel so touched when I read a sorrowful article such as
in Issue 1-1996 about my colleagues, brothers and fellow Red
Cross volunteers who lost their lives to Ebola in the course
of their humanitarian gesture.
It reminds me also of the late Susanne Buser and Sarah Veronica
Leomy, the ICRC nurses who fell victim to an ambush in Sierra
Leone on 27 August 1993. May God and the seven fundamental
principles guide us in our work and give us all such courage
in carrying out our humanitarian duties.
Alexander V. Davies
Sierra Leone Red Cross Volunteers
Waterloo, Sierra Leone
Died: in the line
26 January A Federation local staff member, Herculano
Tchipindi, was killed in Angola when unknown assailants attacked
the vehicle in which he was travelling.
4 June Three ICRC delegates, Cédric Martin,
Reto Neuenschwander and Juan Pastor Ruffino, died when the
vehicle in which they were returning from a humanitarian mission
in the northern province of Cibitoke, Burundi was fired upon
in an ambush.
24 June Ugandan Red Cross relief worker Amin Booyi
Andama was killed during a rebel attack on Koboko town in
27 June Three workers from the Red Cross Society
of the Republic of Zaire, Bahozi Kabuku, Kunga Sebastian and
Mafuta Nzanganya, were killed when unidentified gunmen attacked
a Federation supply depot near Goma in eastern Zaire. One
Zairean UNHCR security guard also died in the attack and four
people were injured.
27 June A Somali Red Crescent guard, Abdi Warsame
Abdulle, died when a shell landed in the Norwegian Red Cross
compound in South Mogadishu, Somalia.
24 July Sheikh Ali was killed during an attack on the Somali
Red Crescent compound in South Mogadishu. His colleague, logistics
officer Abdule Ahmed Ayaanle, died a few days later of injuries
sustained in the attack.
7 September Two workers from the Zaire Red Cross,
Aimé Amuli and Dieudonné Budogo, were killed
when their bus hit a land mine near Goma in eastern Zaire.
Their colleague, Djuma Sebasore, died a few days later of
I am an American Red Cross Disaster Services worker from
the Rhode Island chapter. I am a certified Emergency Relief
Vehicle technician and Disaster Action Team member and I am
interested in meeting other Red Cross and Red Crescent workers
from the USA and around the world. I would like to swap stories,
anecdotes, Red Cross life, etc., with anyone interested.
19 Rhode Island Street
Cranston, RI 02920, USA
Please publish my address in the next issue of your magazine
so that any brothers and sisters who are interested can write
to me to exchange ideas and experiences.
Maxime Blèwoussi Amouzouvie
B.P. 13.182, Lomé, Togo
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