In the latest string of kidnapping stories in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, eleven employees of the Ethiopian Institute of Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center are facing the same fate.
Ethiopian Media Service (EMS), based in the Diaspora, spoke to the director of the Institute, Dr. Dagne, who confirmed the story.
It occurred on Tuesday this week in the Alem Tena area of the Oromia region. The kidnappers are described as “unidentified.”
They were kidnapped from fieldwork related to research activity. However, not all of them are not researchers. The Director has confirmed that support workers and a driver are among those kidnapped.
Asked if there is anything that police have discovered about their condition or if there is a pledge on the part of the police to secure their release, the director said “Nothing. Police are following up the case.”
Dr. Dagne also said that effort is still underway through the government channels and through the mediation of elders. From experiences so far mediation is usually through Abba Geda – spiritual leaders in the ethnic Oromo community.
Regarding the situation of the kidnappers, not much seems to be known except that they spoke to their family members at one point.
The director was also asked if there was a political or financial demand from the kidnappers but he did not disclose that. He said there was nothing.
Kidnapping has become a common practice in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Almost all of the kidnappings so far turned out to be a Ransome case and What the Ethiopian government calls OLF Shane (the group calls itself Oromo Liberation Army) is behind it.
Only two weeks ago, Six Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) employees were kidnapped by the same group in the Aluto Langano where they were working on a geothermal project. The group demanded 10 million birr ransom to set the kidnappees free which EEP declined to pay. The organization has not disclosed if its employees are released.
In a related development, there is unconfirmed news that Several Chinese workers were kidnapped in the region this week.
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