Three MSF workers ‘brutally murdered’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray

 Three MSF workers ‘brutally murdered’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray

Three MSF workers ‘brutally murdered’ in Ethiopia’s Tigray

ADDIS ABABA, 26 June: Three employees of the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) have been “brutally murdered” in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray regional, the organisation said.

Addis Ababa,

The group said in a statement emergency coordinator Maria Hernandez, assistant coordinator Yohannes Halefom Reda and driver Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael were travelling on Thursday afternoon when it lost contact with them. On Friday morning, their bodies were found a few metres away from the vehicle they were using, MSF said, without providing details about the exact location.

“We condemn this attack on our colleagues in the strongest possible terms and will be relentless in understanding what happened,” MSF added.

“No words can truly convey all our sadness, shock and outrage against this horrific attack, nor will it soothe the loss and suffering of their families and loved ones to whom we relay our deepest sympathy and condolences.”

The deaths of Spanish national Hernandez and Ethiopian nationals Reda and Gebremichael were “a devastating blow to all of us who are part of the organisation both in Ethiopia and in the other countries where MSF operates around the world”, the statement said.

No other details were immediately available.

Thousands of people killed

On November 4, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a ground and air offensive campaign in Tigray, after blaming the region’s then-governing party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), for attacks on federal army camps. The TPLF, which dominated national politics for decades until Abiy came to power in 2018, said federal forces and its longtime foe Eritrea launched a “coordinated attack” against it.

Abiy declared victory in late November with the capture of the regional capital Mekelle. Fighting, however, has continued amid fears of a protracted conflict with devastating effects on the civilian population.

The exact death toll in the conflict remains unclear, but thousands of people are believed to have been killed, with at least two million displaced. Residents of Tigray, home to nearly six million people, have described massacres, widespread sexual violence and indiscriminate killings of civilians.

Earlier this month, the United Nations said about 350,000 people are facing famine conditions due to “catastrophic” food shortages, with another two million “just a step away”.

The news of the killing of the MSF staff sparked an outpouring of grief on social media.

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