Ethiopian gov’t says abduction not ethnically motivated, will meet parents

Ethiopian government says it is not right to see the abduction as ethnically motivated one. Three abducted students’ parents will meet with Nigussu Tilahun on Thursday.

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Police commissioner Endashaw Tassew (left), Press Secretariat in the office of PM Nigussu Tilahun (center) and State minister in the ministry of science and higer education – Samuel Kifle(right) . Photo credit : EPRDF (Biltsigna) official page

borkena
January 29, 2020

The Ethiopian government is reportedly meeting with abducted students’ parents.

About five parents received an invitation to a meeting from the office of the Prime Minister via district authorities where they live in Amhara regional state of Ethiopia, Sheger FM radio reported on Tuesday.

Two of the parents say they are not clear as to what the purpose of the meeting is.

Sheger FM also reported that some of the invited are already in Addis Ababa while others are on their way to Addis. They will meet with Nigussu Tilahun, press secretariat in the office of the Prime Minister, on Thursday.

The abduction and government’s position

It has been nearly two months since 21 students, mostly girls, were abducted on their way to their parents’ place after the university announced the closure of it due to security concerns that could affect students, mostly from the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

They were abducted in early December from a bus they were traveling in near Anfillo District in Kelem Wollega Zone in a locality called Suddi, according to information from the office of the prime minister of Ethiopia.

Politicians, activists, and politicized Ethiopians on social media blamed the Ethiopian government or providing misleading and dishonest information.  On January 11, Nigussu Tilahun claimed that the government has managed to rescue 21 students. However, two weeks later, parents have not heard about their children, which is what led to massive demonstrations across several cities in Amhara region of Ethiopia on January 28, 2020.

Senior government officials, including Nigussu Tilahun, held a press statement on Wednesday, and he stood by his statement. The information regarding the release of 21 students is correct, and it came from an official government communication network, he said. From what he said during the presser on Wednesday,  military patrol operations in the area rescued them. It is, however, unclear where precisely these rescued students are and if they are in touch with their parents.

According to Nigussu, those abducted currently are 19, and 14 of them are students of Dembi Dollo University. Names of the rest of the abducted could not be verified with the university, he added.

Abiy Ahmed’s administration is also criticized for being silent and for inaction to rescue the students. Nigusu’s response to that is, “The government is working diligently on it and doing so with a great sense of responsibility.”

Endashaw Tassew, Federal Police Commissioner, said there is information regarding the location of students and that the government is following it up. However, he said that there is no information if they are hurt. Rumors have been circulating on social media that the abducted students are executed.  The government sees that as “false propaganda” intended to create gaps between the government and the people.

He also disclosed that three investigative teams are established and working on it. Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen is also leading a team that is working on the same issue.

Asked if the ethnic-based attack motivated the abduction, government representatives said that there had been abductions in the past against business people and government officials who live in the area.  



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