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    Major Medical Relief Group Pulls Out of Somalia



    The medical relief agency Doctors Without Borders has announced it is pulling out of Somalia following a string of attacks on its staff members.

    The France-based group says after 22 years of humanitarian work in Somalia, it has begun closing all of its facilities in the war-torn country as of Wednesday.

    The group's international president, Dr. Unni Karunakara, told reporters on Wednesday that conditions in Somalia had become too volatile.



    "The closure of our activities is a direct result of extreme attacks on our staff in an environment where armed groups and civilian leaders increasingly support, tolerate or condone the killing, assaulting and abducting of humanitarian aid workers."



    There was no initial reaction to the announcement of the pull-out from the Somali government.

    The relief group says 16 of its staff members have been killed in Somalia over the years.

    It also noted the 21-month abduction of two female aid workers who were released in Somalia in July.

    The pull-out could be a tremendous blow to relief efforts in the Horn of Africa nation. Doctors Without Borders says it provided over 624,000 medical consultations and admitted more than 41,000 patients to hospitals last year alone.



    A United Nations report released in July said Somalia is still wracked by corruption and internal unrest, despite the installation of a new central government in 2012.

    The installation of the new government, led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the removal of the militant group al-Shabab from Mogadishu sparked hope of a new era of peace.

    However, al-Shabab continues to carry out periodic attacks. Also, the U.N. report said the group has retained most of its military strength.

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