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#ASDailyScoop: Five students, one businessman taken hostage in western Oromia

In January 2020, hundreds of thousands protested across Amhara state carrying posters denouncing the kidnapping and demanding answers from the federal and regional governments. The students remain missing

Addis Abeba – Federal Peace and Security Joint Task Force announced today that it was working to secure the release of six civilians who are allegedly taken hostage by armed group in Oromia regional state. The hostages include five students and one businessman, the Joint Task-force said in a statement to state media.

According to the statement, the hostages were taken en-route from the capital Addis Abeba to Assosa, the capital of Benishangul Gumuz regional state on January 23. The joint task-force blamed members of the armed forces in Oromia, Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) – often referred by the government as “Shene”, for the abductions, and vowed to intensify its measures against the group in collaboration with Oromia security forces. The statement didn’t explain further details but blamed the “Shene” of committing acts of terrorism in Oromia “in collaboration with the TPLF. concerted security measures in Oromia has seen many of the group members “eliminated”, the statement claimed, but “some of the disbanded forces of the group were hiding in caves and bushes and committing such heinous acts of abduction.”

In December 2019, 17 students, 12 of whom from Dembi Dollo university in western oromia, were abducted under circumstances both the federal and regional government have not yet disclosed. The university students were identified by then University President Dr. Leta Tesfaye. However, despite weeks long protests and government’s initial statement that the students were rescued, they remained missing until today with the circumstance of their abductions still unclear. AS

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