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UN agency confirms death of staff member after attack in Ethiopia

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has confirmed that one if its staff members was killed and two others remain missing after an ambush in Ethiopia’s remote Somali region. Farhan Hamsa, who worked as a driver for WFP, died on Friday when unknown assailants attacked an agency convoy that was on a monitoring mission, WFP reported in a statement.

One staff member was injured in the attack and two others are missing, WFP said, urging anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of the missing staff members to contact the agency.

“I am deeply saddened by this deplorable killing,” said Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director. “This is the second deadly attack on a WFP humanitarian worker in less than a month.”

A senior programme assistant for WFP was killed in neighbouring Southern Sudan on 22 May after his vehicle was ambushed by assailants in the state of Jonglei.

“Humanitarian workers need and deserve the protection of all as they seek to protect the vulnerable and save innocent lives,” said Ms. Sheeran. “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.”

The agency has long been active in the Horn of Africa nation, and currently provides food aid to an estimated 4.5 million people in Ethiopia, including large numbers of refugees and schoolchildren.

Farhan, who had worked for WFP since 2006, leaves behind a wife and seven children.