The United States says it is “appalled and deeply saddened” about the horrific killings of three staff members of medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in Ethiopia’s Tigray region on Friday.
In a statement by Ned Price, Spokesperson for the State Department, the US stressed that attacks on humanitarian workers are indefensible and must end immediately, and called for an independent investigation and perpetrators held accountable.
“The Government of Ethiopia ultimately bears full responsibility for ensuring the safety of humanitarian workers and free and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance,” the US said.
It added that a cessation of hostilities is essential to ensure that humanitarian workers can safely assist citizens, prevent further suffering, and address the myriad challenges, including famine.
MSF said the bodies of the two Ethiopian staff members and their Spanish colleague were found on Friday morning.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Friday said, the MSF staff working in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) “hotspots in Abi Adi…were killed by TPLF terrorist group”.
The Ethiopian government expressed condolences and said: “The government of Ethiopia has repeatedly called on humanitarians in the region to be escorted by military personnel while operating in such areas to avoid such tragic deaths by the irresponsible group.”
The conflict in Tigray is the result of months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian Government and TPLF, the dominant regional force.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 4 November, 2020, ordered a military offensive after TPLF forces attacked a federal army base.
Fighting has sparked massive displacement, widespread destruction of livelihoods and infrastructure, loss of employment and a huge humanitarian crisis. (PANA/NAN)