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MSF horrified by the brutal murder of three colleagues in Ethiopia

25 Jun 21
This article is more than one year old

MSF horrified by the brutal murder of three colleagues in Ethiopia

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is in mourning after receiving confirmation of the death of three of our colleagues who were working in Tigray, north Ethiopia.

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, Yohannes 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.

MSF and the Tigray crisis

Tens of thousands of refugees have fled the Tigray region of Ethiopia after fighting erupted in early November 2020.

Our teams began triaging and treating war-wounded people on 5 November in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, and are also providing emergency medical care to people who have fled across the border into Sudan.

People fleeing the violence are in urgent need of medical care, shelter, water and food.

As of the end of March 2021, MSF teams are supporting five hospitals in the region and are running mobile clinics in dozens of locations.