Aid in Danger Bi-Weekly News Brief, 05-18 May 2021 – World

01 January-20 April 2021 Aid Worker KKA is now available on our website or HDX. Insecurity Insight continuously updates data on aid workers killed, kidnapped or arrested (KKA). Updated data includes new and historic reports identified in open-sources and verified security incidents submitted by Aid in Danger partner agencies.

Past editions: 21 April-04 May and 07-20 April

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Aid workers kidnapped in 2020

  • Most kidnappings involved one aid worker or small groups of up to three.

  • National aid workers were the target of kidnappings in 69% of reported kidnapping incidents. There were seven reports of international aid workers being kidnapped.

  • Almost all of the kidnapping victims who were killed were national aid workers.

  • Almost four times as many men were kidnapped as women, and all 16 aid workers killed in captivity were male. At least nine women were kidnapped in Burkina Faso, the CAR, the DRC, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia.

  • Nearly two-thirds of aid worker kidnappings took place in road ambushes as aid workers were travelling to and from project sites. Read the full report here.

Safety, security and access incidents

Incidents of threats and violence affecting aid workers and aid delivery.


28 April 2021: In Kola Temben town, Tigray region, a staff member of a USAID partner organisation was killed by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers. According to eyewitnesses, he identified himself as an aid worker and pleaded for his life before he was killed. Source: Addis Standard and US Embassy. At least eight aid workers have been killed between November 2020 and April 2021. Download data.

South Sudan
10 May 2021: Near the Landmark Hotel, Juba, a female INGO aid worker was injured when a man threw a rock at her. She was taken to a local clinic for treatment. Sources: AWSD

10 May 2021: In Renk town, Upper Nile state, unidentified perpetrators assaulted two INGOs aid workers at the compounds of two separate humanitarian organisations. Source: Garda

12 May 2021: Along the Chukudum-Camp 15 road, Budi county, Eastern Equatoria state, a Ugandan INGO health worker working at Chukudum hospital was shot and killed when his vehicle was ambushed by unidentified perpetrators. Sources: Garda, Radio Miraya and Nation

Around 12 May 2021: The North Darfur department of the national Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption, and Funds Recovery Committee suspended the activities of the LNGO Anhar Organisation for Peace leading to the closure of 16 health centres in IDP camps in Kabkabiya, Saraf Omra, and El Fasher localities. Source: Radio Dabanga

14 May 2021: In Rokero town, Central Darfur state, fighting between two different sections of the Sudanese security forces resulted in armed soldiers from both sides violently forcing their way into an MSF-supported health facility. Gunshots were fired, and an MSF nurse was injured. MSF reduced activities in the area to lifesaving medical care only. Source: MSF


As reported on 05 May 2021: Cambodian authorities have been restricting access for UN agencies and other aid groups to COVID-19 lockdown red zones, where people are in urgent need of food, health care and other lifesaving supplies. Source: RFA

As reported on 14 May 2021: Members of the military issued internal guidelines for government staff, alleging that NGOs and INGOs have been “importing liberal democracy” to junior civil servants, causing the civil servants to be “disrespectful towards senior officials”. The government guidelines suggest that civil servants reflecting the values allegedly taught to them by NGOs and INGOs should be “straightened up”. Source: Twitter

19 May 2021: In Hlaing township, West Yangon district and region, a Myanmar Red Cross ambulance was attacked and destroyed with a Molotov cocktail by a group of unidentified men. Sources: Mizzima News Agency and The Irrawaddy


As reported on 06 May 2021: Following an investigation by the NGO SOS Kinderdorf on sexual abuse allegations, the NGO came forward with findings that some staff were aware of the issue but tried to cover up the accusations. The incidents of abuse date back to the 1990s. Source: DW

As reported on 30 April 2021: Italian authorities continued to detain five NGO rescue vessels, preventing them from conducting rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The vessels, including the Sea-Watch 3, are being held allegedly for “administration reasons” and have been detained since March 2021. Source: CBC

Russian Federation
14 April 2021: A Russian court issued a fine of RUB300,000 to the NGO, which assists with legal and psychological support in domestic violence cases, for breaching the Foreign Agents Law. Source: Reuters

Middle East and North Africa

Aid Security: Aid agencies reported 25 security incidents and 91 occasions when security reviews were undertaken in 2020. Carjackings, robberies and theft are the main security incidents. Read more

Vigil InSight Situation Report: Lebanon’s political crisis looks set to continue; foreign diplomacy is failing as aid cuts trigger more shortages and violent protests increase. Analysis, predictions and mitigation measures for aid organisations available here.

Occupied Palestinian Territories
As reported on 13 May 2021: In Gaza Strip, Israeli authorities closed the Erez (Beit Hanoon) crossing, including for aid workers. Source: OCHA

16 May 2021: In Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes hit an MSF trauma and burns care clinic, destroying a sterilisation room and damaging a waiting area. The clinic was subsequently forced to close. Source: Doctors Without Borders

17 May 2021: In Gaza Strip, an airstrike by Israeli forces hit the headquarters of the Qatari Red Crescent. Source: The New Arab

18 May 2021: In Gaza Strip, an international aid convoy was stopped when Israel closed the Karem Abu Salem crossing, citing a mortar attack in the area. Source: Al Jazeera

The Americas

12 May 2021: The Constitutional Court overturned an earlier ruling that stopped a controversial legislation targeting NGOs from becoming law. The new law will give the Guatemalan Government the right to pry into the affairs of, and even dissolve, NGOs. Source: Reuters

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