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Dembi Dollo Abduction: Parents say they haven’t heard from their daughters

Conditions of allegedly rescued Dembi Dollo University students unclear as parents say they have not heard from their daughters and sons. Oromo regional state of Ethiopia says their situation is alright.

Dembi Dollo University _ girls abduction
Google map of Dembi Dollo University.

January 13, 2020

Two days after the Ethiopian government announced that it has rescued 21 abducted Dembi Dollo University students (13 of them female), parents are speaking out that they have not yet heard from their children.

On Saturday, January 11, 2020, the Press Secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nigussu Tilahun appeared in State Media claiming that the government has managed to resume 21 students and that it is working to rescue six other Dembi Dollo University students.

They are believed to have been abducted sometime in late November as they were returning home following closure of the university due to a security crisis at Demi Dollo University in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.

Parents of the students who are allegedly rescued told VOA Amharic on Monday that they did not get a phone call or any other evidence that proves they are indeed rescued.

Oromo region administration and security office deputy head, Colonel Abebe Geresu, claims that students allegedly rescued a few days ago are in the hands of authorities in the region.  He confirmed that they were detained by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) military wing which is known as Shane.

It is unclear as to why the government authorities decided not to allow the students to reunite their parents after more than one month of detention in the hands of gunmen in the forest. Colonel Geresu is equivocal about the situation of students. He told VOA Amharic that the students are alright but again the painted the psychological torture that they could go through. He said you could imagine what they could do to them.

According to VOA Amharic, the students spoke to their parents only when they were in hostage. They communicated with their parents using the cellular phones the gunmen who reportedly stated that their abduction does not have a financial motive but that it is meant to influence government policy – specifically they want the government to return ethnic Oromo students from Amhara region and elsewhere to Oromo region of Ethiopia. 

Parents told VOA Amharic that they tried to contact government authorities but they were told to wait patiently.

The students were abducted as they were traveling from Dembi Dollo to Gambella in a place called Sud. Armed men told them to alight from the bus and took them to the forest

Their abduction was, however, made public after a month. 

The Federal government responded to it just a day after National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) issued a statement last week accusing the government of negligence in connection with the abduction.

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  1. The released freed students are going through rigorous coaching about what to say to the public and what to say to the international media journalists in regards to their whole experience starting from when they were in campuses up to when they were set free.

    It is estimated to take days or Weeks time before they are deemed presentable by PM Abiy Ahmed’s administration, that’s why it is being bringing their families for short monitored visits is getting considered so the freed students can see their loved ones at undisclosed location in Addis Ababa.

  2. There has been wonderful news about the release of the kidnapped. These angelic young ladies are innocent citizens victimized by savage hoodlums. As a proud father of two children and grandchildren myself I am thankfully relieved now. The question now is whether such savage act will not be repeated. From what I see now is an environment ripe for the spread of it. Crimes of all sorts have been committed that were not dealt with in deterring manner. Bigots and vicious thugs have been getting away with murder and pillaging without comparable retribution from the law enforcement. It seems to me or I am led to suspect that in many of blatant crimes committed might have had insiders’ hands in them. In such environment very capable leaders would be rendered as if they are inept. It will be overwhelming to control or avoid them altogether. Otherwise the alternative would be a bloody dictatorship and that would even be deadlier also much more destructive than it is now. The current officials should prove themselves that they are capable of meeting the expectations by the citizens who have entrusted them with the mantle of governing the country. Million of citizens from Dewele to Asosa, from Moyale to the northern tip of the country have been seeking a day in court for gross injustices done to them by bigoted thugs roaming in their hoods since 2018. The crimes committed against them have been decried by humanitarian organization from inside and outside the country and there should not be any statute of limitation for such shameful and destructive crimes. It is time for that punk who is wreaking havoc in the west of the country, his entire entourage and others like him be reported to and charged by the International Criminal Court at The Hague. He and his mob should be charged with rape even though these angelic daughters of all of us might not have been physically violated. Who knows what those savages might end up doing to these young ladies if the situation kept dragging on. We should all remember the post trauma that these students will bear the rest of their lives. It will be an emotional scar that will never heal.


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