Be relentless in understanding what happened. Three employees of the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have been “brutally murdered” in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the organization said.
The group said in a statement that emergency coordinator Maria Hernandez, deputy coordinator Yohannes Halefom Reda and driver Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael were traveling on Thursday afternoon when she lost contact with them. On Friday morning, their bodies were found a few meters 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 we will be relentless in understanding what happened,” MSF added.
We are horrified and saddened to confirm that 3 MSF officials died in Tigray, Ethiopia.
Our deepest sympathies are addressed to their families. We condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms and will be relentless in finding out what happened.
Soon the statement.
– Doctors Without Borders (@MSF_USA) June 25, 2021
“No word can really 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 convey our deepest sympathy and condolences.”
The deaths of Spanish nationals Hernandez and Ethiopian nationals Reda and Gebremichael were “a devastating blow to all of us who are part of the organization both in Ethiopia and in other countries where MSF operates worldwide,” the statement said. communiqué.
No other details were obtained immediately.
On November 4, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a ground and air offensive campaign in Tigray, after blaming the party that then ruled the region, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), d attacks on federal army camps. The TPLF, which dominated national politics for decades until Abiy came to power in 2018, said federal forces and their enemy Eritrea launched a “coordinated attack” against him.
Abiy declared victory in late November with the capture of the regional capital Mekelle. However, the struggle has continued amid fears of a protracted conflict with devastating effects on the civilian population.
The exact number of deaths in the conflict is still unclear, but thousands are believed to have died, with at least two million displaced. Residents in 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 some 350,000 people were starving due to “catastrophic” food shortages, with two million more “one step away”.
The news of the murder of MSF staff provoked an outpouring of mourning on social media.
“Angry, dismayed and saddened by the tragic news of the assassination of three MSF comrades in # Ethiopia,” tweeted Robert Mardini, director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross. “This is unacceptable.”
This is unacceptable.
– Robert Mardini (@RMardiniICRC) June 25, 2021
Ida Sawyer, Africa’s deputy director of Human Rights Watch, also offered the group’s condolences for the rights.
“He is horrified to learn of the brutal killings of three MSF staff members, who were doing an incredibly brave and important job of serving the war-torn communities in Tigray,” Sawyer wrote on Twitter.
Horrified to learn of the brutal murders of three @MSF staff members, who did an incredibly brave + important job in caring for war-affected communities #Tigray # Ethiopia. Our deepest condolences to their families, co-workers + friends, from @hrw https://t.co/TThzZvfbQR
– Ida Sawyer (@ida_sawyer) June 25, 2021
In March, MSF staff traveling from Mekelle to Adigrat, about 120 km (75 miles) further north, he witnessed the assassination of Ethiopian soldiers “At least four” civilians.
At the time, a statement attributed to MSF’s chief of emergency programs, Karline Kleijer, described how Ethiopian soldiers stopped MSF’s car and two public transport minibuses running behind it, forcing passengers to get out.
“The men were separated from the women, who were allowed to leave. Shortly afterwards, the men were shot, “the statement said.
“The MSF team was allowed to leave the scene, but saw the bodies of the dead on the side of the road.”