Humanitarian aid agency, GOAL, has condemned the shooting dead by armed gunmen of the driver of a rental car transporting a GOAL staff member in the Benshangul Region of western Ethiopia on Wednesday (March 24th).
Twelve unidentified gunmen stopped the vehicle in the West Wellega Zone, between Assosa and Yaso, at around 2.30 p.m. and forced the driver and GOAL staff member out. The gunmen took everything from the vehicle before setting in on fire, while the GOAL staff member and driver were held in the bushes.
After being questioned by the attackers the driver was shot and killed while the GOAL staff member managed to escape.
GOAL was in the region carrying out an assessment as part of preparation to respond to humanitarian needs in the area. The car had a GOAL logo, a sticker flag and a “No Gun” sign. GOAL operations in the area have been suspended pending an investigation and security review.
In a statement GOAL said: “We send our deepest condolences to the family of the driver of the vehicle who was tragically killed in such violent circumstances. We utterly condemn this attack on humanitarian workers who are operating in a very challenging environment to help vulnerable communities in need. This attack cannot be tolerated.”
“This killing highlights the dangers facing humanitarian workers in the region. Armed groups must respect the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance. We are currently gathering as much information as we can on the attack and are working with the authorities on investigating this tragic incident. Prompt action is urgently needed by the authorities and communities to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel in the country.”
GOAL has worked in Ethiopia since 1984, and currently operates in seven regions. In 2020 alone, the agency reached more than 2 million people in the country.