Government Says Several Parties Involved in Abduction of University Students

By Staff Reporter

Dembi-Dollo-Kidnap-VictimsJune 15, 2020 ( -- The government of Ethiopia has announced the involvement of several parties in the abduction of Dembi Dolo University students in September last year with some members of the parties monitoring the kidnap from Addis Ababa.

Speaking to local media, Prime Minister Office's Press Secretariat Head Nigusu Tilahun said the government has found out that the kidnap was not carried to get a ransom but a pre-arranged and calculated tactic.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction since December but Oromia regional officials have blamed the armed Oromo Liberation Army, which is fighting the government in the western Oromia. The armed group, however, had denied the allegation and said the government itself was to blame for the kidnapping.

"The government has got ample information as to why and how the abduction took place and identified individuals who allegedly arranged the kidnapping," Nigusu said.

According to the official, dozens of young people who received training on the kidnapping have been put under control though he did not mention the parties involved.

It is not clear how many of the students remain captive but in January this year, Nigusu said 21 students who were taken hostage while going home from Dembi Dolo University in western Ethiopia were released while six remain captive.

Human Rights Watch earlier this year said in a statement that "Ethiopian authorities have failed to protect the victims of the abduction and take the necessary measures to bring them back."

Nigusu said some people have been giving misleading information intentionally about the whereabouts of the students.

He said the government has gathered adequate evidence that the kidnap was carried out in a planned and networked way and those individuals who allegedly participated have been arrested.

Ethiopians mainly from the Amhara region of the country have been expressing anger and frustration over the well being of the students, most of them female who remain missing.

Parents and kin of the captive have said they have not seen or heard anything about their children even though Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his administration doubted if the students were taken captives

The students were taken captive while going back to their homes in Amhara state from Dembi Dolo University, which had been temporarily closed due to ethnic clashes between members of the two largest ethnic groups in the country.

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