WFP staff killed in Somali region | Ethiopia

VOA reported about an hour ago that WFP spokesman Judith Schuler said, “the local authorities together with WFP and the U.N. system in Ethiopia are doing their utmost to find them as soon as possible, but we do not know how fast these searches are going to progress.”

The attack took place along the road between the main town of Jijiga and the Fiq zone, an area of heavy rebel activity about 175 kilometers to the south.

The WFP employees were on a mission to monitor food aid distribution in the drought-stricken region when the incident occurred.

Ethiopian Government spokesperson, Bereket Simon, confirmed the incident in phone interview with Bloomberg today – May 15.
Bereket said that members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF) carried out the attack on WFP workers in the eastern Somali Region.
“It was terrorists”…“remnants of the ONLF,” Bereket said, according to the news.
However, ONLF denied it was involved in the attack.


World Food Program had been attacked on Friday. The incident left one dead and another injured, while another two are missing. WFP confirmed the reports in its a statement issued on its website on Saturday.

Read WFP’s statement below.

Statement On Fatal Attack On WFP Staff Members In Ethiopia

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today confirmed the death of one of its staff members in a fatal attack in Ethiopia. “I am deeply saddened by this deplorable killing,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “This is the second deadly attack on a WFP humanitarian worker in less than a month.”

Farhan Hamsa – a WFP driver – was killed in an ambush on 13 May by unknown assailants in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. He was on a monitoring mission with three colleagues when the vehicles they were travelling in were attacked.

One other WFP staff member was injured in the attack and two remain missing. WFP urges anyone in the vicinity of this incident who has knowledge of the whereabouts of the staff members to contact WFP so that they can be brought home safely to their families and loved ones.

“Humanitarian workers need and deserve the protection of all as they seek to protect the vulnerable and save innocent lives,” Sheeran said. “We call upon the world to join us in condemning such actions as the killing of Farhan. Every day WFP drivers like Farhan deliver life-saving help to the most vulnerable under conditions of great danger and hardship. They are my heroes.”

Farhan had worked for WFP in the Jijiga sub-office in the Somali Region since 2006. He leaves behind a wife and seven children.

WFP provides food assistance to 4.5 million people in Ethiopia, including refugees and school children in highly food insecure areas.

The fatality in Ethiopia follows the killing of WFP Senior Programme Assistant, Santino Pigga Alex Wani in Southern Sudan last month. He was killed in an ambush on 22 April by unknown assailants in Jonglei State. Santino was on mission with WFP’s partner Joint Aid Management when the vehicle they were travelling in was attacked.

Daniel Berhane

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