from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – AT least 23 aid workers – more than was initially known- have been killed since the outset of the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region late last year.
The figure has climbed from 12 as reports of the murder of an additional 11 aid workers from the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) have now emerged.
It has emerged a total of ten trucks from REST were commandeered by armed forces in the week of June 22, from which two drivers were killed in separate incidents. Three other drivers are still missing and unaccounted for.
Information was also received confirming an additional nine fatalities which had not yet been reported, dating back to January.
This is in addition to the previously reported killing of their
colleague in Kola Tembien in May.
Grant Leaity, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, condemned the killings, violence, attacks, abductions, and threats against aid workers.
“Once again we are shaken by this news,” the envoy said.
“Violence against aid workers is intolerable,” he added on Thursday.
Leaity lauded humanitarian colleagues working tirelessly to deliver humanitarian assistance and protection to the civilians affected by this conflict.
“Maintaining their safety and unhindered access to people in need as laid out under international human rights and humanitarian law is critical to the provision of life-saving assistance.”
Meanwhile, he lamented the operational constraints and humanitarian blockade of Tigray, where conflict has raged since October 2020.
With the inability to bring in sufficient and sustained levels of
humanitarian supplies, cash and fuel, the humanitarian situation is set to worsen dramatically.
An estimated 5,2 million people, or 90 percent of the population across Tigray, urgently need humanitarian assistance.
These include 400 000 people already facing famine-like conditions.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently alerted that over 100 000 children in Tigray could suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in the next 12 months – a tenfold increase compared to the average annual caseload.
– CAJ News