November 27 2008

Long serving co-worker of SOS Children's Villages shot dead in Somalia

27/11/2008 - A tragedy strikes the SOS family in Mogadishu yet again. On 26 November at around 3.45 pm East African time, a long serving co-worker of the SOS Hospital in Mogadishu, Abukar Abdullahi Bazi, was shot dead.

The following message was received from Ahmed Ibrahim, director of SOS Children's Villages Somalia, who is in Mogadishu at this moment:

Photo: SOS Archives
The SOS family mourns the death of Abukar Abdullahi Bazi - Photo: SOS Archives

"Today, Wednesday 26th November was a terrible blow, not only for the victim's loved ones, but for our SOS Children's Village in Mogadishu. At around 3:45 pm East African time, armed men with automatic weapons sprayed bullets on a private vehicle carrying three SOS medical staff - one doctor and two nurses - from the SOS Hospital to their homes, and one staff member, Abukar Abdullahi Bazi was shot, and died while he was being rushed to the hospital. Abukar Bazi served in our medical facility since February 1991 as a head nurse and an active member in the hospital's management team. During his time with us, he showed great commitment, braveness and loyalty to his work and helped the poor women who are in need of his assistance. Abukar Bazi was among the medical staff who stood up for the re-opening of our medical facilities on 15 March 2008. He is survived by his wife and eight children. On behalf of SOS Children's Villages Somalia, children, mothers, youth and co-workers, our deepest condolences go out to the family and colleagues of our staff member who died in this criminal act. Our immediate concern is for the wellbeing and support of the family of the victim in this difficult period."

Photo: SOS Archives
Abukar Bazi served in the SOS Clinic since 1991 - Photo: SOS Archives

Ahmed Ibrahim also reported that another co-worker from the hospital was shot and injured on 25 November. Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi Nur, an auxiliary nurse who was also on his way home from the hospital, was shot twice in the right leg. He was immediately taken to hospital and he is recovering at the moment. Ironically, it was Abukar Bazi who called Ahmed Ibrahim to report the incident. Despite these shootings, it is not thought that SOS co-workers are being targeted. Rather, they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Aid groups, reported Ahmed Ibrahim, said last week that 24 aid workers, 20 of Somali nationality, (including SOS co-workers) have been killed this year in Somalia and more than 100 attacks on aid agencies have been reported.

The SOS Children's Village Mogadishu opened in 1987 and the SOS Maternity and Emergency Paediatric Hospital (as it is officially known) opened in 1989. It is the only one of its kind in Mogadishu providing free medical services to the community, and has become the main point of reference for the most vulnerable population in the city and its surrounding regions. The children's village was evacuated a year ago and the children are living with their SOS mothers in the community. The hospital has been closed several times in the last twelve months, but has always reopened and has continued to serve the community through the worst of times.