Ethiopia – Drastic deterioration of security conditions for humanitarian workers (DG ECHO, INGOs) (ECHO Daily Flash of 12 September 2019)

On 5 September, a few kilometers outside the South Sudanese refugee camp of Nguenyyiel in Gambella Regional State, in western Ethiopia, an Action Against Hunger (AAH) vehicle was stopped by armed individuals allegedly wearing regional police uniforms. Two AAH staff were killed, while another staff member succeeded to escape and run back to the camp to raise the alert.

The situation in Gambella has been very tense over the past year, due to unsolved ethnic tensions between the Anuak population (mostly indigenous) and the Nuer population (ethnicity of the South Sudanese refugees). Clashes between both groups have occurred on a regular basis creating security and access challenges for humanitarian partners.

Until this killing, humanitarian staff had not been targeted. However, it is reported that threats to humanitarian agencies had been posted on social media on a few occasions in recent months.

Most humanitarian partners have suspended their operations in Gambella and are demanding action from the regional and national authorities.

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations