June 26, 2021
The Government of the National State of Tigray condemns in the strongest possible terms the targeted killings of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) humanitarian workers in Shoate Higum, Tigray, by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.
The MSF workers (Maria Hernandez from Spain, Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael from Tigray, and Yohannes Halefom Reda from Tigray) responded to the man-made famine facing 900,000 Tigrayans amidst a horrific, genocidal war. In addition to the killings of the three MSF workers, the retreating Ethiopian National Defense Forces mercilessly killed half a dozen civilians located at a make-shift camp housing internally displaced people.
The Government of the National State of Tigray offers sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the MSF humanitarian workers and all the innocent people targeted by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, Eritrean National Defense Forces, and Amhara militias in Tigray.
Humanitarian workers and innocent civilians are being brutally killed and deliberately targeted by the invading forces. International observers must view the latest attacks within the larger context of recent happenings in Tigray. Earlier this month, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister accused aid workers of supporting the Tigray forces, on June 22, 2021, Ethiopian National Defense Forces deliberately targeted via airstrike a market area in Togoga, Tigray killing over 60 and injuring around 180 civilians, including mothers, children, and elderly men. Since the start of the war in November 2020, at least 12 humanitarian workers were killed by invading forces. And in March 2021, Ethiopian troops executed Tigrayans traveling on a public bus in front of MSF humanitarian workers.
The international community must understand that the invading forces are deliberately obstructing humanitarian access and killing humanitarian aid workers to ensure that hunger as a weapon of war will kill the people of Tigray. The international community must move from strong condemnations to decisive actions, including economic sanctions and arms embargoes.
The Government of the National State of Tigray reaffirms that humanitarian workers and civilians must never be a target.
The Government of the National State of Tigray and the Tigray Defense Forces remain committed to cooperating with all concerned international bodies to investigate this tragic incident. We are ready to extend support to ensure the safety and security of international humanitarian workers.