According to news reports, MSF lost contact with a vehicle carrying workers from the agency’s Spanish branch on Thursday afternoon and their bodies were discovered near the empty vehicle on Friday morning.
I am deeply shocked by the murder of three @MSF humanitarian workers in Tigray. This is totally unacceptable and a horrific violation of international humanitarian law. Offenders must be found and severely punished. Https://t.co/oA4zaLktOr— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 26, 2021
The victims were identified as the Spanish citizen Maria Hernandez and the Ethiopian employees Yohannes Halefom Reda and Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael. “No words can truly express our sadness, shock and indignation at this terrible attack,” MSF said in a statement.
MSF is an independent, international medical humanitarian organization made up of tens of thousands of healthcare professionals, logistics and administrative staff that operates worldwide.
Last November, a conflict began in Tigray between the armed forces of the central government and the regional armed forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which plunged the region into a humanitarian crisis.
In a statement, the UN chief described the killings as “completely unacceptable and a horrific violation of international humanitarian law. The perpetrators must be found and severely punished.
“I am in solidarity with our humanitarian partners who risk their lives to offer protection and help to the people of Tigray,” added Guterres.
The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that she was outraged by the brutal murders. “Humanitarian and human rights workers are civilians and as such can never be targeted. The parties to the conflict must fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law. ”
The “shocking killings come as we continue to receive reports of persistent serious violations of international humanitarian law and grave human rights abuses and human rights abuses in Tigray,” she added, calling for a “timely, transparent and thorough investigation into the murder of our humanitarian colleagues”. and all reports of violations and perpetrators must be held accountable. ”
Shocked by the terrible news from #Tigray, where three @MSF colleagues were brutally murdered while trying to help others in great need.
On behalf of @WFP, our thoughts and prayers go with their families and friends during this difficult time. https://t.co/5o7TKI6i3P – David Beasley (@WFPChief) June 25, 2021
In a Twitter message, the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino, said he was shocked at the murder of MSF workers “who served some of the most vulnerable … who targeted aid workers in Conflicts. ”
United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley said he was “shocked by the terrible news,” adding that workers “were simply trying to help others in great need … our thoughts and prayers are with their families”. and friends in this difficult time. ”
The Tigray conflict has continued unabated for the past few days, with the civilian population bearing the brunt of the violence. On Tuesday, amid conflicting reports, an air strike by the Ethiopian government struck a market in Togoga village, allegedly killing many civilians, including women and children.
On Friday, General Secretary António Guterres issued a statement in which he strongly condemned the attack and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
“The Secretary-General reaffirms the need for all parties to fulfill their responsibilities under international humanitarian law and human rights and to ensure the protection of civilians. He calls for an independent and rapid investigation into this incident. ”
He again called for “an immediate end to the fighting and urgent steps towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict”.
The United Nations humanitarian response to the extremely volatile and complex security situation includes providing food aid to around 5.2 million people in need. Around 3.7 million people have been called up to date.
More than 1,000 children have been treated for severe acute malnutrition and around 5,000 for moderate acute malnutrition in the last few days, while more than 22,000 received medical attention in the second week of June.