US Urges End to Civilian Kidnappings in Ethiopia

The United States Ambassador to Ethiopia has called for an immediate halt to the kidnapping of students and other civilians in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

Last week, several students traveling from Debark University, located in Amhara region were abducted.

The attack, reportedly carried out by militants near Gebre Guracha in the North Showa Zone of the Oromia Region, occurred close to Addis Ababa.

While neither the federal government nor the Oromia regional government has issued an official statement, the families of the kidnapped students informed various media outlets that their children were taken by armed men.

The US Embassy in Ethiopia released a statement addressing the issue, highlighting that ongoing conflicts in the Amhara and Oromia regions have undermined the rule of law.

US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ervin Massinga, condemned the recent kidnappings, emphasizing that such incidents hinder accountability for criminals.

Ambassador Massinga insisted that the kidnapping of students and civilians for ransom must cease immediately. Reports indicate that over 100 students and other passengers were kidnapped by militants last week.

Western countries, including the United States, have repeatedly called for an end to the conflicts in Ethiopia especially in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

The federal government has expressed its willingness to negotiate with militants, though talks with the self-proclaimed Oromo Liberation Army, also known as Shene, in Tanzania have thus far failed to yield an agreement.

Since April 2023, when the federal government decided to reorganize regional special forces, conflicts between government security forces and Fano militants in the Amhara region have persisted.

The situation escalated following the reorganization decision, leading to a six-month state of emergency declared in August 2023, which was extended for another four months.

Although the state of emergency officially ended a month ago, heightened security measures remain in place in the region.

A recent report by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) indicated that 70% of human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia regions were committed by government security forces.

The report documented that 248 civilians were killed in government drone attacks from August to December last year, which also resulted in the destruction of public facilities, including schools and hospitals.

In total, 594 human rights violations were reported in Ethiopia, with 70% attributed to government forces and 22% to conflict participants.


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