ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations has apologized to the government of Ethiopia after a security breach by its staff in Tigray region.
“The Government welcomes the apology given by Dr. Catherine Sozi, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, on the incident,” said ministry of Peace in a statement on Sunday.
It said the UN agency plans to “put mechanisms in place to prevent similar breaches in the future as it undermines humanitarian coordination and poses serious security risks”.
Last Sunday, a UN team ignored authorities’ instruction and broke two checkpoints to go to areas where they were not allowed to.
The staffers were shot at and detained at Shire town in the Tigray region. They were later released by Ethiopian security forces.
The incident angered government officials. The Head of the Emergency Task Force for Tigray, Redwan Hussein, said the staff had “indulged themselves into a kind of adventurous expedition”.
The team broke “two checkpoints to drive hastily to areas where they were not supposed to go”, Redwan said, “When they were about to break the third one they were shot at and detained. Of course, they are now free,” he said.
Ambassador Redwan said UN staff’s actions unacceptable saying “this is Ethiopia, a country which has thousands of years of statehood. So no one can have a free ride”.
“If anybody is told not to go, then they have to abide by…There is no such a thing as unfettered access in every corner of Ethiopia,” he added.