By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Over 54 tons of coffee beans ready for export have vanished into thin air in the capital, Addis Ababa, sources said. The Weekly English Paper, the Reporter said in its Saturday issue that three truckloads of Coffee beans estimated to cost birr 11 million were being transported to the processing site in Addis Ababa but it did not make it. It was robbed by “unidentified robbers.”
The situation which left the coffee exporters agape has become the talk of the town. Officials from Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority told the Reporter that the three trucks loaded with exportable coffee beans and coming from the Coffee Exporting Bensa Woreda of Sidama Region disappeared in the Capital in broad daylight. Though the three trucks were confirmed to pass through Kaliti Customs Check Points before crossing over boundaries of the capital, they were not directed to the coffee processing warehouse. They were rather hijacked and emptied, according to the news source. What has lately been known was that the location of the two trucks were found; but they were without a single load of coffee. Following the recovery of the empty trucks, the Authority put under control a driver, according to the Reporter.
Reporter said that two additional trucks belonging to a supplier and another exporter were hijacked in similar incidents causing concern among industry players.
Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, Shafi Umer, said that his office is working with law enforcement bodies to get solutions to the problem. “We have started investigating the issue the moment we received the reports from the exporters,” Shafi said, adding that it has been a week since such incidents were reported.
Reporter quoted a top management member of Sidama Coffee Suppliers Association who requested anonymity as saying that members of the Association numbering 2,700 “are worried too much” about the incident. This coffee robbery, including the recently occurred ones, has caused great anxiety among local coffee exporters and others who are involved in the business.
The reporter said that a similar robbery drama performed two weeks back on exportable coffee beans coming from Dilla Town and bounding for the capital, Addis Ababa, was finalized through negotiation. Following this, the disappeared coffee beans were recovered, according to the Reporter.
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