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1977 Ethiopia. Ransom note

Photo credit: WHO
Source: WHO 1988, Smallpox and Its Eradication


Work in Ethiopia carried personal hazard for the smallpox eradication teams. Fighting was ongoing along both Eritrean and Somali borders. William Waugh, a Canadian helicopter pilot, was captured by rebels. He sent this note to Dr Ehsan Shafa at the Smallpox eradication unit at WHO. It reads:

April 7 -77. Dr. Shafa. We are captured by the Guerillas they want $40000.00 Ethiopian dollars for my release or they will kill us. Bill Waugh

He was released 4 days later without payment, having vaccinated the rebel group.