Two IRC Staff Members Die in Sierra Leone Helicopter Crash
The International Rescue Committee is profoundly saddened to report that two of its staff members were among the 24 people tragically killed today in Sierra Leone in the crash of a UN-chartered helicopter.
The IRC staff members were Alan Mukuru, 35, a Ugandan and director of the IRC's aid programs in Sierra Leone, and Bahati Barongo, 37, a Tanzanian and IRC administrative adviser based in Freetown.
Mukuru leaves his wife, Wivine, and three children: Sarah, 13; Michael, 8; and Andrew, 6.
Barongo leaves his wife, Doreen, and four children: Jamal, 11; twins Jackson and Peter, 9; and Helena, 5.
“Alan and Bahati were highly regarded members of our staff, and deeply committed to their humanitarian mission and the refugees and war-affected communities they served,” said George Rupp, the IRC's president. “Our hearts go out to their families and to the loved ones of everyone who died in the crash.”
Mukuru joined the IRC in Goma, Zaire, in 1994 and held a series of assignments in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi before becoming head of the IRC's aid programs in Tanzania in 2001. He assumed his present position in November 2003. During the summer of 2003, he spent two months as an adviser working with the IRC's staff in Afghanistan. He held a bachelor's degree from Purdue University and a master's degree from the University of Nairobi.
Barongo had been in his current position since April. He spent the previous six months training the IRC's administrative staff in Afghanistan. His earlier IRC assignments were in Tanzania, where he had also worked for the U.N. Development Programme and Medecins sans Frontieres - Holland.
The IRC invites who knew Alan or Bahati to submit written tributes to them. Please contact Erica DePiero, ericad@theIRC.org.