The medical aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Friday said it is horrified by the brutal murder of three of its staff members in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray.
The bodies of emergency coordinator, Maria Hernandez, assistant coordinator, Yohannes Halefom Reda and driver Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, were found on Friday morning a few metres away from their empty vehicle.
They were travelling on Thursday afternoon when their colleagues lost contact with them.
“No words can truly convey all our sadness, shock and outrage against this horrific attack,” MSF said in a statement.
“We condemn this attack on our colleagues in the strongest possible terms and will be relentless in understanding what happened.”
“Maria, Yohaness and Tedros were in Tigray providing assistance to people and it is unthinkable that they paid for this work with their lives,” it added.
Maria Hernandez, 35, from Madrid, started her MSF work in 2015 in the Central African Republic and had since worked in Yemen, Mexico and Nigeria.
Yohannes Halefom Reda, a coordination assistant, was 31 and from Ethiopia and joined the organization in February.
Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, 31, also from Ethiopia, had been a driver for MSF since May.
MSF said the death of Maria, Yohannes and Tedros is a devastating blow to all who are part of the organisation both in Ethiopia and in the other countries where it operates around the world.
There has been no independent confirmation of who carried out the attack and a statement from the Ethiopian government blamed what it called “the irresponsible group” – an apparent reference to the rebels it has been fighting since November.
It suggested the attack proved the government had been right to call for humanitarian agencies to be accompanied by military escorts.
Throughout the eight-month conflict in Tigray all sides have been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.
This week fighting in Tigray escalated. Rebel forces say they have seized some towns, and the Ethiopian military carried out an air strike, reportedly killing dozens of people. (Source: BBC)