The African Development Bank has reported an incident involving two of its staff members based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The employees were assaulted and detained by security officials without explanation, an event that occurred two weeks ago but was disclosed on Thursday with a statement published on the Bank’s website.
The bank said, “On 31 October 2023, two staff members of the African Development Bank Group based in Addis Ababa were unlawfully arrested, physically assaulted, and detained for many hours by elements of the security forces without any official explanation”
The intervention of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was necessary for the release of the staff members. The bank expressed gratitude, stating, “We are pleased that the Prime Minister of Ethiopia immediately acted when he learnt of the incident, ordered the immediate release of the affected staff and promised to order an immediate investigation into the incident.”
The bank described the incident as a “serious diplomatic incident.” Despite that, it clarified that its operations within the country remained unaffected. A formal complaint was lodged with the Ethiopian government in response to the incident.
Furthermore, the bank highlighted that the Ethiopian government assured them of the continued respect for the rights, privileges, and diplomatic immunities of the bank’s staff members in Ethiopia and those visiting the country for missions. This commitment was referenced with respect to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the African Development Bank’s Host Country Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia.
The incident sheds light on the prevailing lawlessness experienced by many Ethiopians. Instances of arbitrary detention in Addis Ababa including journalists and activists, and in various parts of Ethiopia are not uncommon. There are even reported instances involving demolitions of citizens’ residences, particularly in the outskirts of the capital, resulting in entire families being rendered homeless on alleged grounds of “illegality.”
Addis Ababa, as one of the primary diplomatic hubs on the African continent, hosts numerous continental organizations, including the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, among others.
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