Medecins Sans Frontieres (flag pictured in California in 2000) said that three employees were found dead after the morning after they had lost contact with the medical charity during a trip. AFP
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday it is halting work in some parts of Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region after the "brutal murder" of three of its staff last month.
"MSF announces the suspension of its activities in Abi Adi, Adigrat and Axum, in central and eastern Tigray. MSF teams in other areas of Tigray will continue cautiously to provide assistance to people in urgent need," the group, known by its French acronym MSF, said in a statement.
It also called for an "immediate investigation" into the killings.
At least 12 aid workers have been killed in Tigray since fighting broke out last November between the Ethiopian military and forces loyal to the region's former ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
MSF announced on June 25 that one Spanish and two Ethiopian employees had been killed, although details of the attack including who was responsible remain unknown.
MSF named the Spanish victim as 35-year-old aid coordinator Maria Hernandez from Madrid.
She started working with MSF in 2015 in the Central African Republic and had since worked in Yemen, Mexico and Nigeria.
The other victims were Yohannes Halefom Reda, a 31-year-old coordination assistant who had joined MSF in February, and Tedros Gebremariam Gebremichael, also 31, who had been a driver for the charity since May.
The issue of humanitarian access has taken on fresh urgency since pro-TPLF fighters -- now rebranded as the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) -- retook control of the regional capital Mekele last week.
Abiy's government declared a unilateral ceasefire the same day, but world leaders have warned of a possible "siege" of the region, with bridges into Tigray destroyed and access restricted.
Ethiopia has said the claims that it wants to starve the Tigrayan population are "beyond the pale".
The United Nations has also warned that roughly 350,000 people are on the brink of famine, while the United States has put the figure as high as 900,000.