on Friday called for international pressure on Eritrea, which it accuses of
holding eight Ethiopians still missing after the release of five European
captives this week.
A British embassy group of five people, abducted in the north-east Ethiopian
desert on March 1, was released on Tuesday in Eritrea, but eight Ethiopian
drivers and guides accompanying them are still missing.
We have to keep up the pressure. The international community should also put
the pressure on the Eritrean government to release the eight Ethiopian hostages, »
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Soloman Abebe told Agence France-Presse.
The media should work as they were working before when the Europeans were
kidnapped, » Abebe said, the day after the much-publicised return to Britain
of the five ex-captives — three British men, one British-Italian woman and
a French woman.
But Abebe added that there was no news on efforts to release the Ethiopian
On Wednesday Ethiopia’s government, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, demanded
« the unconditional release of the eight Ethiopian nationals, victims
of terrorism ».
In its statement the government repeated allegations of Eritrea’s involvement
in the abduction, already strongly denied by Asmara, which points the finger
at Ethiopian rebels in the Afar region.
Britain’s Foreign Office and the former captives have shown caution in blaming
anybody for the abductions in remote territory close to the border over which
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a war in 1998 to 2000.
In a statement after their release, the group expressed concern for the eight
Ethiopians among 13 who had been with them. Five of the Ethiopians were freed
three days after the abduction.
More than 50 Ethiopians and Europeans held prayers in Addis Ababa on Thursday
evening for the release of the remaining Ethiopian captives. — AFP