The killing of MSF staff is the second incident in a week in the region. A few days ago , the head of the investment commission in the region was found dead a day after he was kidnapped in Mekelle
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Friday said three of its staff members were killed in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. One of the victims is identified as Maria Hernandez, emergency coordinator, who had been working with MSF since 2015.
Two of the victims are Ethiopians, and were working with the company for several months now. MSF has disclosed their identities : Yohannes Halefom Reda, was working as assistant coordinator, and Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, driver.
“This morning the vehicle was found empty and a few metres away, their lifeless bodies,” said MSF in a statement published on its website
Furthermore, it said that it is shocked and outraged by the killings.
“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.”
A statement from the Ethiopian government indicates the aid workers were not escorted by the security or Ethiopian Defense Forces.
It is unclear at this point as to who is behind the attack. MSF indicated that it is in touch with the families of the victims, and asked for “the utmost respect and privacy for them at this incredibly difficult time.”
The Ethiopian Defense Force has confirmed the killings. According to a statement by Public Relation Head, Colonel getenet Adane, it happened near AbiyAdi, where the TPLF guerrilla forces are said to be operating.
“We have received information that the terrorist TPLF gunmen killed three MSF- Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders workers after they were pulled out from their car. One of the victims is from Spain and two are Ethiopians,” said the update from the Defense Force. It also said that it will further investigate the information.
The statement from the Defense Ministry also indicated that the area used to be restricted from humanitarian workers and journalists out of security concerns.
Colonel Getenet remarked “The killing of humanitarian workers is unacceptable under any circumstances and all peace loving people should condemn the horrific killings.”
The Ethiopian Defense Force also called on all Ethiopians and the International Community to support the effort to end terrorist activity by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
In May of this year, the Ethiopian Parliament designated TPLF, which is proved to have started the war in the region when it attacked the northern bases of Ethiopian Defense Force in November 2020, as a terrorist organization.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia expressed condolences in a statement “The government of Ethiopia would like to express condolences on the killings of three Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staffers in the TPLF hotspots in Abi Adi, Tigray.”
Furthermore, the statement from the ministry said “The government of Ethiopia has repeatedly called on humanitarians in the region to be escorted by military personnel while operating in such areas to avoid such tragic deaths by the irresponsible group.”
Earlier this week, TPLF urban terror cells, as claimed by the interim administration in the region, kidnapped Embza Tadesse, head of the investment commission, whose body was found on Thursday.