The Japanese doctor shot dead in Afghanistan on Wednesday had constantly changed routes to move between areas in the country to avoid possible ambushes, officials of a Japanese aid group said Thursday.
Tetsu Nakamura, the 73-year-old doctor and representative in Afghanistan of the Japanese group, Peshawar-kai, and five others were killed in shooting while heading by car from Jalalabad to an irrigation canal construction site. Local authorities are investigating the attack.
According to the secretariat for Peshawar-kai, Nakamura began medical aid activities in northwestern Pakistan in 1984 and in Afghanistan in 1989. In Afghanistan, he opened a clinic and also engaged in agricultural aid activities.[caption id="attachment_6384" align="alignnone" width="212"] This picture taken on February 16, 2009 shows Tetsu Nakamura in Fukuoka prefecture. (Jiji Press/AFP)[/caption]
Nakamura had not taken special precautions against threats until public safety began to deteriorate following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Since then, he limited his movements to between his living quarters and his workplace.
After Peshawar-kai staff member Kazuya Ito, 31, was abducted by an armed group and later found dead in 2008, the Afghan government ordered aid workers to be accompanied by bodyguards. Nakamura had taken different routes to work since then.
“Nakamura understood that he was most vulnerable while on the move, so he made sure not to take the same path,” Peshawar-kai official Mitsuji Fukumoto, 71, said.
“We cannot know for sure whether the attack was targeted at Nakamura. We knew that anything could happen in the area struggling with constant fighting and drought, but we still regret the incident,” he added.