March 9, 2007
Kidnapping in Afar
Very busy. So I'm just going to post links to my latest Reuters stories.
Ewenet Means Truth in Ethiopia takes issue with a feature I helped write titled Kidnap throws spotlight on barren corner of Ethiopia. I know what she means about traditional depictions of the Afar people. But there is one passage from the Reuters feature Ewenet does not quote:
Experts say the Afar people's reputation for toughness has been exaggerated because they have been so geographically and culturally cut off from the rest of Ethiopia. They are hospitable to outsiders despite massive needs, they add.
At the moment, it seems that 13 people are missing - the five Europeans linked to the British diplomatic community here in Addis and eight Ethiopians - possibly from Afar - reportedly taken with them.
Seven French tourists earlier reported as missing have apparently got in touch with their travel company Origins Ethiopia and are heading back to Mekele, then Addis Ababa. Five Ethiopians who were also taken with the party have turned up at the Eritrean border, according to the Ethiopian News Agency late on Saturday.
Thursday Mar 8
UK deeply concerned over abduction
Mekele, Ethiopia - Britain on Thursday expressed "deep concern" over the fate of five people linked to its embassy in Ethiopia who were abducted a week ago.
There has been no sign of the five Europeans and eight Ethiopians accompanying them since they were snatched at gunpoint from a village in one of the world's hottest and most inhospitable corners, Ethiopia's northeastern Afar region.
Wednesday Mar 7
Kidnap throws spotlight on barren corner of Ethiopia
BERAHILE, Ethiopia (Reuters) - The mysterious kidnapping of five Europeans and eight locals has put the international spotlight on a remote, barren and searingly hot corner of Ethiopia left behind by the modern world.
The Afar region's 1.4 million inhabitants -- mainly nomads -- occupy one of the earth's harshest terrains. Here, rock-strewn hills give way to vast deserts below sea level, and dry river-beds and acacia thorn-trees dot the landscape.
Tuesday Mar 6
No sign of European hostages in Ethiopia kidnap
BERAHILE, Ethiopia, March 6 (Reuters) - A British government team searching for five embassy-linked people kidnapped in Ethiopia's remote Afar region left on Tuesday with no sign that the missing had been found.
The three-person investigating team gave no comment as it left Berahile, a town of sandy streets that Ethiopian police are using as a staging area for the hunt for the Europeans abducted last week in the northeastern region.
Sunday Mar 4 - am
Five kidnapped Ethiopians found near Eritrea border
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Five Ethiopians out of 13 believed kidnapped alongside a party of five Britons in one of Ethiopia's most hostile regions have been found, while a manhunt for the rest of the team has been intensified.
The state-run Ethiopian News Agency said Ethiopian security officials reported the five men had been picked up by security forces patrolling the Eritrean border.
Saturday Mar 3 - pm
Kidnap tourists spotted in army camp
ERITREAN forces were yesterday accused of kidnapping a group of tourists, including five Britons, in a remote part of Ethiopia, and taking them to a military camp.
The Britons went missing on Thursday.
"They were taken to Wema district of Asab Province in Eritrea. This has been confirmed by two Ethiopians of Afar origin who were left behind," said Ismael Ali Sero, head of Afar administrative region.
Saturday Mar 3 - am
Britain sends team to Ethiopia
Britain sent a six-strong team of senior Foreign Office officials to Ethiopia on Saturday to step up diplomatic efforts to free foreigners feared kidnapped in a remote area of the Horn of Africa country.
Friday Mar 2 - am
Fifteen foreigners feared kidnapped in Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Fifteen foreigners, including 11 French nationals, two Britons and an Italian, are believed to have been kidnapped in a remote and inhospitable area of Ethiopia where separatist rebels operate.
Posted by aheavens at March 9, 2007 5:23 PM
Everything is so immediate now. I was at a birthday party this afternoon and this was a hot topic...what is the latest...
Posted by: leisa at March 3, 2007 11:20 AM
What happened to the kidnapped people is outrageous and all efforts should be focused on getting them back from whoever kidnapped them.
That being said, I find reports of sightings in a military camp very convenient and unbelievable, especially in the prevalent mood among some that Meles should bring about regime change in Eritrea. Just take a look at the posts on aigaforum, a site for and by ardent supporters of the Ethiopian regime, over the past few months. I have to wonder if this unfortunate event is being spun for another round of war.
Posted by: abe at March 4, 2007 8:22 AM
Bandits are common in remote parts of Ethiopia. This was noticed because it involves foreigners.Besides I wonder why people from the embassy go to such a volatile boarder. I guess UNMEE was there to check things out.
Posted by: so;omon at March 4, 2007 5:18 PM
Who are the kinapped 'tourists'? how come we dont have names and images? Do they have families that love them? How come we dont see them praying and eagerly waiting for their loved once? Are they really 'tourists'?
As you can see, more questions than answer to this kinapping case... the most bizzar kidnapping case I have ever come across. The mistry of Ethiopia....
Posted by: erit at March 6, 2007 8:15 PM
Thanks for the updates. If you went to the area, I hope you were able to snap a few pictutes. Be safe.
Posted by: Yonas Tibebe at March 7, 2007 1:47 AM
Thanks for the updates.
Ewenet Ethiopia is not happy with your writings about Afar.
Hope all the kidnapped come home soon.
Posted by: safiya at March 8, 2007 1:37 PM
The most likely kidnapper is a local Afar group as many are now concluding. I would speculate the motive is related to Salt Economics. Salt is the bread and butter of the nomad Afars. And as recently documented by BBC in ‘Camel Train’, the old Afar salt grounds are no longer as in the past exclusively mined by the Afars; many Tigrians now make the dangerous trip to the salt mines. Some have been held hostage in the past by whom, again, I can only assume is the same Afar group holding the Brits now. I am not surprised the Afars would see anyone showing remote interest in their salt mines as a threat. The Brits, may have seemed to show more interest in the Salt mines because, I am convinced, they are not your ordinary tourists. If they were, we would have seen the ‘Have you seen me’ picture on the milk carton.
Posted by: Eritus at March 8, 2007 2:12 PM
Kidnap Britons 'found' in Eritrea
Reports that UK embassy staff kidnapped in Ethiopia are safe but in the hands of Afar separatist rebels are being investigated, the Foreign Office says.
Posted by: mikewhills at March 9, 2007 11:54 AM
thank you write to about afar. i'm afar and the kidnapped people i Hope all the kidnapped come home soon.this kinapper are they free and they don't have to eat. they ask goverment give them job. shabiya said. "you guys wantted job i'll give you a job. you have one mission. you guys kidnappe this tourist i'll give you money". this kidnapper they know nothing. there family is in big problem. when you talk to them with afar old people they realse this tourist.Eritria want ethiopia had wrong seeing on world
Posted by: dermuha at October 17, 2007 2:50 PM