Published on May 7,2015
CAIRO, A group of Ethiopians freed from Islamic militant kidnappers in Libya arrived in Cairo Thursday, state-run Nile TV reported.
TV footage showed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi receiving and greeting the Ethiopians, who waived Egyptian flags, at Cairo International Airport.
“We were concerned about our Ethiopian brothers, after news reported brutal beheadings,” Sisi said, in reference to the slaughter of 28 Ethiopians by the Islamic State (IS) group in Libya last month.
No details were available of the rescue operation, but Sisi said “Egyptian armed forces rescue and secure, rather than harm” the hostages.
“Thank God for the safety of the first group,” Sisi said. It was not clear how many Ethiopians in total were rescued.
In April, the IS claimed that it had detained several groups of people from Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Sisi said Egypt coordinated with Ethiopian authorities in the efforts to “release our brothers.”
Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa, strained over the construction by Ethiopia of the controversial Renaissance Dam, have improved lately.
In March, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles in Khartoum regarding the Grand Renaissance Dam.
At the airport on Thursday, Sisi told the rescued Ethiopians: “We are one nation, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.”
“We drink from the same water,” he said, referring to the river Nile.
In late January, the Egyptian president told the Ethiopian parliament that “what hurts you, hurts Egyptians,” saying Egypt will do its best to mitigate the pain of “our brothers.”
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