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Aid group explains reason for leaving Somalia
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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An acceptance of violence targeting healthcare workers has permeated all facets of Somali society, the international president of Doctors Without Borders said.

The international healthcare organization said Friday it was closing its offices in Somalia. Organization President Unni Karunakara said in an article published Tuesday in The Standard newspaper in Kenya it was a tough decision to make.

"Large parts of the Somali population live with undernourishment, disease and injury," he said. "They have little chance of finding quality healthcare when they need it."

Karunakara said 16 members of the Somali staff have been killed since 2007. A Somali national charged with the murder of two aid workers last year was freed after serving three months of a 30-year jail sentence.

Somalia made gains last year when it formed its first functioning central government since the 1990s. The government struggles to exert its influence beyond Mogadishu but Karunakara said the security risks in Somalia were too great to tolerate.

"What dashed our last bit of hope of working in the country was that the very parties with whom we had been negotiating minimum levels of security tolerated and accepted attacks against humanitarian workers," he said.


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