Canadian aid worker sues Norwegian NGO

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Steve Dennis in a plea on Fundrazr to fund his legal case. Photo: Screen Grab
21:16 CEST+02:00
A Canadian aid worker is suing the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) for failing to prevent him being shot and kidnapped in an attack near Kenya's border with Somalia.

Steve Dennis was part of a convoy showing the Norwegian NGO's general secretary Elisabeth Rasmusson around the Dadaab refugee camp, which was then attacked.

One person was killed in the attack and several injured, and Dennis and three other NRC employees where kidnapped and taken to Somalia. Four days later, they were freed by a local government friendly militia after a gun fight. 

"This is an occupational injury, the employer has a responsibility. But at times, they don't even want to meet us to talk about the case," Dennis complained to Norway's VG newspaper.

Since the ordeal, Dennis has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical difficulties because of the gunshot wound to his leg. 
He claims that the attack could have been prevented if sufficient precautions been taken.

"After the attack, I realised how many mistakes NRC had made in planning and executing the visit," Dennis told VG. "The death and kidnapping could probably have been avoided if NRC had followed it's own security protocol, recommendations from security personnel."
NRC had not provided an armed escort for the convoy, despite information about the important visit being public.

Dennis also claims that the support NRC has offered him after the incident is insufficient and has not covered his costs, due to a poor insurance policy.
Due to his PTSD, he has been unable to return to his career as a front-line aid worker.

He maintains that a financial settlement is not his main objective.

“I would like my personal losses covered. But primarily I want an independent review of the incident and a public statement if there is negligence found,” Dennis told the UK's Guardian newspaper.

“I’ve spent three years of my life on this and it’s been such a challenge to relationships, to my family, to my own sanity. I used to run massive projects. I ran a hospital with over 200 staff. Now I have a hard time getting through a traffic jam without having to do breathing exercises for 45 minutes.”
Below you can watch Steve Dennis tell his own story on Fundrazr. 

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