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HomeNewsOver a hundred university students abducted last week still  under kidnappers 

Over a hundred university students abducted last week still  under kidnappers 

 university students _ kidnapped
The university students were abducted Gerbe Guracha – Oromia region of Ethiopia. (Photo :SM)

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Toronto –  over a hundred university students who were kidnapped last week near Gohatson, Gerbe Guracha area of the Oromia regional state of Ethiopia, are still under their kidnappers. 

Abiy Ahmed’s Federal government has not yet remarked about it, and it is unclear if work is underway by the federal government to secure the release of the students. 

The United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ervin Massinga, on Monday called for an end to the kidnapping of students and civilians. He saw the prevalence of kidnappings in Ethiopia as an outcome of unending conflict in the country which he thinks is creating a haven for “criminals.” 

About six students have managed to escape and they said they were kidnapped by “Shane” – a militant ethnic Oromo Nationalist Group that calls itself Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). 

Kidnaping of civilians for ransom has been worsening in the Oromia region of Ethiopia and the kidnappers associate themselves with the OLA. 

Those kidnapped last week are asked to pay an exorbitant ransom between 700,000 and 1,000,000 Ethiopian birr – something that is not affordable for many Ethiopians. 

Kidnappers are threatening to kill the kidnapped if they are unable to get the money. Families of those kidnapped are agonizing over the impossibility of paying the amount asked. 

The students were kidnapped when gunmen stopped three passengers’ buses which were traveling from Amhara region of Ethiopia to the capital Addis Ababa.  The OLA gunmen stopped the buses at gunpoint, deboarded all the passengers, and took them to the jungle. Government security personnel – from the Defense Force, the Oromia region special forces, and militia – arrived on site after the gunmen reportedly took away the kidnapped more than five kilometers, according to reports. 

The OLA militants extensively operate in the Oromia region of Ethiopia and they are said to have clandestine support from Oromia regional state government structure – especially the security apparatus. 

A news report by VOA Amharic, published on Monday, said it reached out to Solomon Abebe, head of the peace and security office of the part of North Shoa region that is under the Oromia regional state. He is cited as saying “The students are released.”  However, from local sources, that does not appear to be the case. 

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, who traveled to Sudan on Tuesday, did not say a word about the abduction of three busses of passengers. 

Kidnapping of civilians has become a prevalent security problem in Ethiopia over the past few years but it is more prevalent in the Oromia region. It has become a risky business to travel by road transport from the capital Addis Ababa to the Oromia region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been widely criticized for failure – among other things – to protect the security of Ethiopians. 

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