On Friday, the Ethiopian Red Cross Society reported what it referred to as an “alarming incident” in the Haru District of the West Wollega zone in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
In a statement released on its social media page, the organization disclosed that armed forces had burned its ambulances. The vehicle (ET05-01939), which it described as being used for “humanitarian services,” was set ablaze around 6:00 a.m. on Friday while parked at the health center in Haru district.
The statement did not specify the identity or motivations of the armed groups behind the attack. The militant wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which identifies itself as the Oromo Liberation Army (OLF), operates in the region and has been linked to numerous attacks and civilian massacres over the past five years.
The Ethiopian Red Cross Society’s statement describes the act as a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions to which Ethiopia is a signatory. This violation is expected to hinder the delivery of humanitarian services.
The full statement is provided below :
“Statement from Ethiopian Red Cross Society
Ethiopian Red Cross Society is deeply troubled to report an alarming incident that occurred today, October 27, 2023. We regret to inform you that our ambulance vehicle with license plate number ET05-01939, which we use for vital humanitarian services, was tragically burned by armed forces in Haru District of West Wollega zone.
This unacceptable act took place at 6:00a.m. while our ambulance was stationed at Haru District Health Center. As an organization committed to saving lives and assisting those in need, we are appalled by this blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, which Ethiopia has solemnly signed. Such actions are not only inhumane but also contradict Ethiopian criminal law.
It is disheartening to witness the continued attacks on our ambulance vehicles, which pose serious obstacles to our humanitarian services. We must emphasize that targeting ambulance vehicles is an assault not just on our organization but on the mothers who rely on these vehicles to bring new life into this world.
We, once again, earnestly appeal to all parties involved to respect the Red Cross’s impartiality and neutrality. Our dedicated workers and volunteers are tirelessly striving to serve humanity, and they must be allowed to do so without fear or interference. We call upon those responsible for such acts to desist from committing further atrocities.
In these trying times, let us remember that we stand for humanity. We remain steadfast in our mission to provide aid and relief to those in need. Your support is invaluable, and together, we can make a difference.”
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