BBC Home
Explore the BBC
17 December  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1996: Aid workers killed in Chechnya
Six Red Cross workers have been shot dead as they slept in a hospital in Chechnya.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said they were murdered in their beds in the village of Novy Attagi, 11 miles South West of the capital Grozny.

The murders took place at about 0400 local time when masked men broke into the hospital which is a clearly marked Red Cross centre.

The murdered aid workers were a Dutch architect and nurses from New Zealand, Canada, Spain and Norway.

They had been working at the hospital since September, when it was set up inside a school using funds from the Norwegian Red Cross, especially to care for victims of Chechnya's 21-month war.

It is the bloodiest attack on aid workers in the 130-year history of the humanitarian agency.

The ICRC has now taken the decision to withdraw its international staff from the area although some remain in Grozny.

The immunity of the Red Cross is some times at cost and we never really thought that here in Chechnya this would happen.
Thierry Meyrat, ICRC
Thierry Meyrat, ICRC, said the incident revealed a rising trend in attacks against aid workers despite the Red Cross' political impartiality.

The Red Cross has said it cannot draw any conclusions as to who was responsible for these attacks.

The hospital employs 15 foreigners and 180 locals but none of the latter were hurt.

It has led to suggestions the motive behind the attack was political and aimed at disrupting the republic's elections on 27 January.

The medical unit was set up just as a peace settlement was being negotiated between rebel leaders and the Kremlin.

Russian troops have been pulling out but many rebels had pledged there would be no peace until there was total independence from Moscow.

 E-mail this story to a friend

Red Cross lorry
The Red Cross are supplying aid

In Context
Chechen officials blamed rogue members of the Russian security forces for the murders.

Within days they arrested several suspects but their identities and nationalities were not publicised.

In January 1998 Chechen officials accused Russia of harbouring Adam Deniyev, a deputy head of the pro-Russian administration who they said masterminded the killings.

He was killed in a rebel bomb attack in April 2001.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement awarded its highest honour, The Henry Dunant medal, posthumously to the six workers killed in Chechnya.

It recognised the "outstanding services and acts of great devotion to the cause of the Movement".

Stories From 17 Dec

Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy