Three aid workers who had been working in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have been found dead, their organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières, announced on Friday.
MSF said it had lost contact with the workers while they were traveling on Thursday afternoon. Their bodies were found near their empty car this morning.
The workers were Maria Hernandez, an emergency coordinator; Yohannes Halefom Reda, an assistant coordinator; and Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, an MSF driver.
“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,” MSF said in a statement.
MSF has been active in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the focus of a government offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front since last year. In March the organisation said that in the aftermath of an ambush on the army, its workers had witnessed soldiers carrying out extrajudicial killings, while their own driver was beaten with the butt of a gun and also threatened with death.
Earlier this month the Ethiopian aid worker Negasi Kidane was killed by a stray bullet, according to his employer, the Italian charity International Committee for the Development of Peoples. In May, another Ethiopian working with USAID was also killed.
“Every day humanitarian workers risk their own lives to help those in dire need because of man-made conflicts and natural disasters,” USAID’s chief, Samantha Power, said in a statement. “We hope that his courage and sacrifice, and that of other humanitarian workers intimidated, threatened, harmed, or killed in the Tigray region will not be in vain, as we work with the people of Ethiopia toward a peaceful resolution and a brighter future.”
At least 11 aid workers have been killed in Tigray since November 2020.