A medical aid organization said an ambulance was “attacked by an armed group” east of the El Salvador capital early on Sunday.
Médecins sans frontières (Médecins sans frontières or MSF) has suspended its activities in gang-dominated areas near San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, after the medical aid organization said one of its ambulances had been attacked by an armed group.
An MSF coordinator said on Sunday that a doctor and medical assistant were in the ambulance when it was attacked around 3 a.m. local time as it prepared to provide assistance to Reparto Las Canas , an area about seven kilometers east of San Salvador.
“For the moment, all our medical activities are suspended until we can be sure that our interventions can proceed safely,” Luis Romero told AFP news agency.
Romero called on armed gangs and civil society in general to respect the activities of health workers.
We are outraged by the attack on a team from our ambulance service @MSF_Espana in Ilopango, El Salvador. We are independent, neutral and impartial. We help people when they need it most. We remind you that #NoSomosUnObjetivo pic.twitter.com/k8YTIGnxok
– Luis Romero Pineda (@lromerop) January 31, 2021
Translation: “We are outraged by the attack on a team from our ambulance service… We are independent, neutral and impartial. We help the people who need it most. We remind you that #WeAreNotATarget “
El Salvador has so far reported nearly 55,000 cases of COVID-19 as well as more than 1,600 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
The country also has one of the highest rates of violence in the world.
Tens of thousands of gang members operate in El Salvador’s municipalities and extort residents, Human Rights Watch said, while Salvadoran security forces “remain largely ineffective in protecting the population.”