MSF Workers Brutally Murdered In Ethiopia
Médecins Sans Frontières, (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders said it was “horrified by the brutal murder” of three colleagues in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The victims were Emergency coordinator Maria Hernandez, assistant coordinator Yohannes Halefom Reda and driver Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael. It is currently unknown who murdered them.
The MSF humanitarian workers were two Ethiopian colleagues and one from Spain, who were found killed on Friday, a day after colleagues lost contact with them while they were traveling. In a statement, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry expressed condolences for the deaths it said occurred in the town of Abi Addi. It also called for military escorts however Ethiopian forces have been accused of severe human rights abuses and have even attacked MSF themselves. In March, another MSF team was attacked after witnessing Ethiopian soldiers pulling men off two public buses and executing them on the street. Soldiers brutally beat the MSF driver and threatened to murder him too. At least 12 aid workers have now been killed since the conflict began.
In addition this week Ethiopia’s military acknowledged carrying out an airstrike massacre on a busy market in Tigray which murdered scores of civilians. Ethiopian soldiers abducted at least six victims of the airstrike en route to a hospital and three were later released. The three who are still being detained are two women and a 15 year-old boy who are yet to recieve medical care. The situation “is very desperate” according to a regional health official who spoke to The Associated Press.
Man-made starvation is also looming over Tigray with at least 900,000 people in the region now facing famine and millions more at risk. Meanwhile, Ethiopia's government carried out a sham election in an effort to distract from the growing conflict and humanitarian crisis. The election lacked basic oversight and excluded much of the population, including all of Tigray and other regions. The European Union and 12 other countries pointed out the election was conducted under poor conditions and urged for a national dialogue to de-escalate conflict and tend to the growing humanitarian crisis.
Full statement by MSF: "Emergency coordinator Maria Hernandez, assistant coordinator Yohannes Halefom Reda and driver Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael were travelling yesterday afternoon when we lost contact with them. This morning the vehicle was found empty and a few metres away, their lifeless bodies.
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.
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.
We are in close contact with their families and ask for the utmost respect and privacy for them at this incredibly difficult time
Maria Hernandez, 35, from Madrid, started her work with MSF 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 organisation in February.
Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, 31, also from Ethiopia, had been a driver for MSF since May.
The death of Maria, Yohannes and Tedros is 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. We share a deep sense of sadness, outrage and dismay, and are deeply sorry for their families."