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HomeEthiopian NewsAfrican Development Bank Reports "Serious Diplomatic Incident" in Ethiopia

African Development Bank Reports “Serious Diplomatic Incident” in Ethiopia

Image : Africa Development Bank


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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  1. It can be correctly assumed that the officers who arrested the Banks’s staff had done so following orders from their superiors. It is not clear from the report where the staff members were arrested. Were they arrested at their residence, place of work or other locations? In any case, none does it make it right. Arresting without warrants and even worse, physically assaulting defenseless prisoners is a crime as stipulated by international laws. The victims might have tried to fight off their arrests by plain clothed individuals and I don’t blame them for that. In a country where kidnapping for ransom are becoming common, plain cloth individuals could be anyone. The investigation should focus on those who gave the orders. But, as it is common in developing countries, those who made the arrests will be the one to be blamed for it and will be the fall guys/patsies. Meanwhile, I am glad the victims are back home to their loved ones and jobs.

    Hey young Prime Minister! This is an embarrassing diplomatic incident!!!

  2. The bank expressed gratitude, stating ….. to Prime minister. Well why because he arrested unlowfully, and realsed them also unlaufully.
    The bank should simply asked for the sepect of the rule of law within the country. Not of the good will of one person.

  3. Hard to believe the two were arrested without cause. But what might a ’cause’ be? I suspect perhaps the two were caught trying to change currency illegally.

    Foreigners assigned to work in poor countries where there are wide divergences between official and black market exchange rates usually (and normally) engage in shadow foreign exchange market as one vehicle to build their finances. The incentives for such are huge, and economically rational persons can be expected to take advantage of the divergences, just like traders and investors. The solution is for government not to interfere in the market for anything, but rather leave resource allocation and price setting to the free interplay of demand and supply. Governments’ interference is a recipe for failures in economic management, and deepening poverty anywhere.

    I strongly recommend the Ethiopian government not be involved in micro economic management by decree. Let the market does its work. Government should focus in areas where the private sector might be less attracted, such as defense, internal security, building large public infrastructure, providing basic education through high school, and the like. The private sector should also be encouraged and assisted in anyway possible to invest in higher education concurrent with public education.

    The era of government as solution to everything and everyone should be over, since that has proven to be recipe for disaster.

  4. What does this statement by AFDP tell you?
    “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.”

    There is a degree of anarchy that has led to disregard of the very laws and protocols in the book. The only way those staff members of the bank could be released was the personal intervention of the Prime Minister. It shows the main method the law enforcement folks use to enforce the law is thru lawlessness. That should have been the courts’ job. But what I’m hearing lately is the law enforcement folks have stopped obeying the court orders and continue holding those who they throw in jail for a variety of reasons. I understand that the regime has been waging a legitimate war against bigots in different parts of that country but such lawlessness inside the regime itself can turn into a metastasizing late stage cancer that will eat at the heart of the society at large. Lawlessness manifests itself in many ways. Malfeasance in one which itself means embezzlements of the nation’s coffers, extrajudicial imprisonments(kidnappings) and killings of civilians. These are or can be a sign of the coming of coup d’état‘s. For me, when a junior officer orders the arrests of citizens without warrants from the courts, that in itself is coup d’état. The reason for the officer to give such orders can be for the victim being suspected of breaking the law or the victim might have the upper hand in the competition with the officer to win the love of that beautiful girl in the hood. Such evil acts are said to have had happened to innocent citizens during the days of that demon Mengistu. May The Almighty Our Creator Save That Country!!!


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