Home » News

Family of aid worker killed at Christmas pay tribute to him

[guardian.co.uk, Friday, 30 December 2011 09:37 No Comment]

Khuram Shaikh, who worked for the Red Cross, was attacked while on holiday

The family of an aid worker from the north west who was shot dead as he tried to act as peacemaker during a dispute outside a hotel in Sri Lanka have paid tribute to him.

Khuram Shaikh, who worked for the Red Cross in the Middle East and was a prosthetic limb expert, was shot and attacked with a sharp weapon after he became caught up in the row in the town of Tangalle.

His family, from Milnrow, Rochdale, paid tribute to a ‘courageous son’ after he was killed on Christmas Day.

They said they are still unclear how the 32-year-old became involved in the dispute. But they believe he was simply in the wrong place when the row flared up between two rival gangs.

Khuram Shaikh had travelled to the popular coastal resort with colleague Victoria Alexandrova, 23, a Russian citizen, who was also badly injured in the attack. She is in intensive care in a local hospital.

Four men have been arrested. One man was identified as a 24-year-old local politician.

He managed a programme in the Gaza Strip fitting prosthetics on people injured during violence.

His brother Nasir, 40, an NHS project manager, described how the family received the terrible news on Christmas Day.

He told the Manchester Evening News: "Local police say there was an altercation between two groups and Khuram was in the vicinity. There are reports that he tried to calm the situation down and was targeted, but we don’t know what the truth is.

"Basically, he was there on holiday. The aid workers have to have a week-long break every three months. He was going there to get away.

"The job he was doing took him to some dangerous places – and he was living in Gaza – so there was no concern about a holiday in Sri Lanka.

He had been there on a break earlier this year and talked about how beautiful it was."

His father Mohammad, 65, a retired businessman, added: "He was a charismatic and confident person. The most important thing for him was giving back to other people.

"He lived for helping people and obviously it is a great loss not just for us but for the Red Cross, and the people he was helping."

Nasir, 40, will travel to Colombo to help repatriate his brother’s body with the help of the Red Cross and the Foreign Office.

The Salford University graduate, who also had two younger sisters, had worked in Norway and Ireland before joining the Geneva-based organisation in 2009. He had previously carried out rehabilitation work in North Korea.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.