Ethiopia: Abductors kill six Children in central Gonder, one managed to escape

The children were in the wilderness looking after cattle as in the tradition in the region

Gondar _ Children

January 1, 2019

Six children between the ages of 10 and 16 who were abducted and killed in the Tegede, central Gondar region of Amhara regional state. They were said to be looking after cattle in the area.

Maru Fantahun is one of the children who managed to escape.  He was abducted along with his friends Jember Gobene, Eyayaw Adane and Eyayaw Fentahun as they were bathing in Maidara river. And then they were suddenly captured by abductors and taken to the forest side of the area, Maru recounts. Later, he said, he noticed that there were four other children captured from across the river.

“You will be questioned because you are feeding bandits,” they told us said Maru Fantahun as quoted by Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA). He managed to escape by throwing himself into a steep gorge near Maidara river – an area where there were kept after the kidnap.

Abductors are five in number, and one of them appears to be near his sixties and the rest are in their 20’s and 30’s, according to information from AMMA. Four of them are armed with AK 47 (two of them folding ones) and one is not armed.

Maru also said they kept them in a locality known as Korekora. The abductors get their food supplies from nearby villages. Sometimes they call people with a cell phone before they go to the village to pick up their order (but they do not call names).

Then they called the parents of the children to demand ransom, according to Maru. They were demanding more than 100,000 Ethiopian birr.  “My brother told them on Sunday that he would bring the cash,” said Maru. Then the abductors wanted to kill the children so that they will not expose who the abductors are. It was after this that these so-called abductors murdered all the children but Maru who managed to escape.

The news has shocked Ethiopia. Many are still trying to make it.  Apparently, there seems to be a tendency to see it as a manifestation of negligence on the part of the government to enforce the rule of law. 

Sisay Asemre, an assistant political science professor at Gondar University, sees the incident from a different trajectory too.  He says it could be something with intended political propaganda to make the point that the government is unable to protect the security of citizens.  The fact that the incident happened in the part of Gonder where there is a political demand suggests that there could be a political gamble behind it, said Sisay.

Still, others see the possibility that it could be part of a series of morally shocking actions intended to damage the social psychology of Ethiopians.

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