Unknown gunmen on Friday killed a UN worker and injured another in an ambush in Ethiopia’s eastern, Somali region, World Food Programme said in a statement on Saturday.
"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."
Last month, WFP’s senior programme assistant, Santino Pigga Alex Wani was similarly killed by unknown armed men in South Sudan’s Jonglei state.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack but Bereket Simon, Minister at the Ethiopian Office of Government Communication Affairs, is holding the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) eastern Ethiopian rebel group, responsible for the attack.
Farhan Hamsa, a WFP driver, was on a monitoring mission along with other three of his colleagues when they came under fire. The UN agency said two of the UN workers remain missing and called on anyone in the vicinity with knowledge of their whereabouts to immediately contact WFP.
WFP provides food assistance to 4.5million people in Ethiopia, including refugees and school children in highly food insecure areas.
"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."
Last year the Ethiopian government signed a peace deal with a breakaway of the group which claims to be the main body of the ONLF rebel group, but a faction of it dismissed the peace agreement and vowed to continue an armed struggle against Addis Ababa saying it still is active in the region.
The group was responsible for an attack on a Chinese-run oil venture in 2007 which killing 74 people including nine Chinese working for the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Company