PM Office Announces Release of 21 Captive University Students

By Staff Reporter

PM-office-ethiopiaJanuary 11, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Prime Minister Office of Ethiopia has announced that 21 students of the Dembi Dolo University who were taken hostages by gunmen in Oromia state of western Ethiopia were released.

Speaking to the state-run EBC late on Saturday, the Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat Head Nigusu Tilahun said 13 female and 8 male hostages were released following continuous negotiations in which elders and members of the Ministry of Defence were involved.

According to the head, the students were taken hostage while going back home after 16 universities in Oromia and Amhara regional states were forced to release over 35,000 students due to the unfolding ethnic-based clashes on their campuses.

The other six students are still held hostage by the gunmen, said Nugusu who did not mention whether the negotiations were held between the government and the kidnappers.

The government has set up a special team in charge of overseeing and stabilizing the conflicts in university ground besides deploying members of the federal police on the campuses.

Late Saturday, the management of the university and Ministry of Science and Higher Learning Institutions said they are following the case and communicated the matter to concerned government security forces.

In a recorded voice released by the state broadcaster late on Saturday, the President of the Dembi Dolo University Dr. Leta Tesfaye said he is not sure if the students were taken hostages as the incident took place outside the campus.

Nigussu said the rescue operation was successful as no harm was inflicted on any of the captives released.

The government did not disclose what measures are being taken against the perpetrators. Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed power, the Oromia regional state, his home state, has been home to numerous lawless activities, including killings, bank robberies, and abductions. Many blame both the local and federal governments for the continued lawlessness and for not taking decisive measures against these criminals.

Meanwhile, the federal police commission has disclosed that it has arrested seven employees and journalists of Walta Television for allegedly posting fake news on its website.

The suspects are accused of disseminating fabricated information that said: “Deberetsion Gebermichael, the Deputy President of the Tigray regional state was Dead.”

In an investigation it is conducting with the Information Network Security Service (INSA), the commission said it has arrested those employees who have direct links and password of the website as well as others working in senior positions.

“There are several employees allegedly involved in the dissemination of the fake news. The suspects include those employees who produced, uploaded and posted the wrong news,“ said Abera Bulina, the Crime Investigation Director of the commission.

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