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Survivor of Afghanistan attack on Dr. Nakamura describes assault: Mainichi interview

In this image taken from video, locals inspect the site of a gun attack on a Japanese aid worker's truck, on Dec. 4, 2019, Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan. (AP Photo)
In this Aug. 28, 2008, file photo, Tetsu Nakamura, who headed the Japanese charity, Peace Medical Service, speaks during a press conference about the killing of the Japanese aid worker Kazuya Ito, at the Japanese embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

NEW DELHI (Mainichi) -- Following the Dec. 4 shooting in Afghanistan that killed Japanese Dr. Tetsu Nakamura of the Peshawar-kai and five others, a survivor of the events has spoken to the Mainichi Shimbun and described what he saw in the attack.

The man, 45, was driving the car behind the one carrying Dr. Nakamura when they were assaulted by an armed group. Speaking on the phone on Dec. 8 to an assistant to the Mainichi, he said, "When I suddenly heard gunfire, I knew we were being attacked. It all happened in around 20 seconds."

The man has worked with the Peshawar-kai as a driver for close to 15 years. He said that Nakamura set off from his lodgings to the site of their current project in a convoy of two vehicles at around 7:55 a.m. on Dec. 4. Nakamura was in the first vehicle with two others, a driver and a bodyguard. The man was in the following car with three more bodyguards, bringing the total in both to seven people.

According to a head of security authorities in Afghanistan, Nakamura's car was forcibly stopped when the vehicle carrying the armed group slammed into it, and the shooting began immediately after.

He said that the moment the shooting attack began, he escaped from his vehicle. But the other six all died. Immediately after the firing stopped, he says he returned to the scene and went to check on Nakamura, who said he was fine.

He says he then put Nakamura in the second vehicle and tried to take him to hospital, but that damage to one of his tires meant he couldn't keep going and he ended up handing the doctor over to police, who then took him the rest of the way. Nakamura received emergency aid there, but died while being transported to another hospital in the capital of Kabul.

A high-ranking official with the security authorities said the armed group comprised at least six people. Footage from a nearby security camera appears to show the assailants leaving in two vehicles.

Although the area where Nakamura was working to support the community was some 25 kilometers from where he was living, the attack took place just moments after leaving his lodgings at around 8 a.m. Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident under the suspicion that it was a planned attack to kill Nakamura.

(Japanese original by So Matsui, New Delhi Bureau)

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