This past week saw the death of a member of a local guard force at the US Embassy in Ankara. Nomads By Nature who blogs from Ankara writes that the guard who died when the suicide bomber detonated the bomb at the embassy entrance, Mustafa Akarsu was a 46-year-old security guard at the embassy. He left behind a wife, an 18 year old son, and a 15 year old daughter. “He put duty ahead and confronted the bomber in that initial checkpoint, hollering out a warning to the others as he did so.”
This has been a reality for the Foreign Service, not just for the American employees and family members but also for the locally hired employees, and host country police officers tasked to guard our people and diplomatic facilities overseas. AFSA has a long list on its memorial plaque of American officers lost dating back to 1780 when William Palfrey was lost at sea. We don’t think there is a memorial plaque just for local employees. We lost so many of them in Beirut one year, and more another year. We lost many more during the twin bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Since 2008, this blog has attempted to keep track of the violent deaths related to the State Department overseas. Since we mostly worked through publicly available material, we are pretty confident that we have covered FS employee/family-related incidents (missing, suicide, attacks). We are also sure our list covering local national casualties are incomplete because those do not always make the news.
Apologies if we missed anyone. If you know anyone not listed below kindly please add the information in the comment section.
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Feb 2013 – Mustafa Akarsu, Local Guard Force (Ankara, Turkey): investigation is still ongoing. Hurriyet Daily News has some additional details here.
Jan 2013 – Christopher “Norm” Bates, Foreign Service (Johannesburg, South Africa): case is open and ongoing.
US Mission South Africa: FS Employee Christopher Bates Dead in Jo’burg
Nov 2012 – George Anikow, Foreign Service/EFM (Manila, Philippines): four alleged perpetrators are currently in Philippine court system.
US Embassy Manila: George Anikow, Diplomatic Spouse Killed in Early Morning Altercation
October 2012 – Qassim Aklan, Foreign Service National (Sana’a, Yemen)
US Embassy Yemen: FSN Qassim Aklan Killed in Motorcycle Drive-by Shooting
- J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service (Benghazi, Libya)
- Sean Smith, Foreign Service (Benghazi, Libya)
- Tyrone Woods, Contractor (Benghazi, Libya)
- Glen Doherty, Contractor (Benghazi, Libya)
Outrage! Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others killed in Benghazi, Libya
August 2012 – Ragaei Abdelfattah, USAID (Kunar, Afghanistan)
US Mission Afghanistan: USAID Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah, Four Others Killed, Two Wounded in Suicide Attack in Kunar
May 2012 – George Gaines, Foreign Service (Bridgetown, Barbados)
US Embassy Barbados: Death of the Regional Security Officer
February 2011 – Khairy Ramadan Aly, Foreign Service National (Cairo, Egypt)
US Embassy Cairo Local Employee Confirmed Dead with Three Bullet Holes
March 2010 – Lesley A. Enriquez, Foreign Service National (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico): one gang leader extradited from Mexico
- Victoria DeLong, Foreign Service (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
- Laurence Wyllie, Foreign Service/EFM (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
- Baptiste Wyllie (5), Foreign Service/EFM (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
- Evan Wyllie (7), Foreign Service/EFM (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
State Dept Reports Death of FSO in Haiti Earthquake
Three FS Family Members Perished in Haiti Quake
September 2009 – James Hogan, Foreign Service (Curacao, Netherlands Antilles): still missing, more blog posts archived here.
James Hogan Case: A Royal Hurricane Shit Storm of Pain for All to Read
May 2009 – Terrence Barnich, State Department (Fallujah, Iraq)
US Embassy Baghdad Employees Killed by IED
February 2009 – Brian Adkins, Foreign Service (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia): a local man reportedly pleaded guilty to the murder but we have no information whether the murderer was sentenced.
One of Ours is Dead in Addis Ababa
- John M. Granville, USAID (Khartoum, Sudan): convicted murderers still at large
- Abdel Rahman Abbas, USAID/FSN (Khartoum, Sudan) convicted murderers still at large
How much does a US diplomat’s life worth? About $1,800 US dollars, and look there’s no raging mob…
For the Foreign Service, the six degrees of separation is acutely much closer. As such, death is often too close an acquaintance.