Two police officers arrested over abduction of Ethiopian officials


NAIROBI, KENYA: Two Kenyan police officers were Monday arrested in connection with the abduction of two top officials of Ethiopia’s Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) from outside a popular restaurant in Upper Hill, Nairobi last week. 

The officers, an inspector and a constable attached to Nairobi Area CID are expected to face charges of espionage for Ethiopia’s intelligence services. 

Nairobi head of CID Nicholas Kamwende confirmed the arrests and said the officers expected in court Monday morning. 

“They will face various charges following the abduction of the two ONLF officials,” said Kamwende. 

He added the officers had been identified by witnesses as having participated in the abduction of Mr Sulub Ahmed and Ali Hussein who were members of the ONLF negotiation team that was in Nairobi for a proposed third round of talks. 

Ahmed and Hussein were members of ONLF central committee and were abducted on January 26 from outside Arabian Cuisine in Upper Hill area.  

They were later driven out of the country to Ethiopia by intelligence officials from Addis Ababa and their whereabouts are not known. 

ONLF officials who asked not to be named had said security agencies from Ethiopia and Kenya were involved in the kidnapping. 

They had been invited for a lunch date at the restaurant near TSC headquarters when they were abducted by men who were in three waiting cars.  

One of the cars, a black Toyota Prado and the driver were seized and detained at the Turbi police station the following day but the two were missing amid speculation they had been taken across to Ethiopia. 

The ONLF officials who spoke in Nairobi said the two officials were invited by the Kenyan government for peace negotiations. Their whereabouts in Ethiopia are yet to be known. 

“This is not the first time that such an incident happens and we urge that the government of Kenya provides us with security. We do not know the fate of our officials but we know they were taken to Ethiopia,” said an official who asked not to be named. 

Analysts say that this move may affect diplomatic negotiations between ONLF and Ethiopia brokered by Kenyan Government on 2012. 

ONLF is a separatist rebel group fighting to make the region of Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia an independent state.  

ONLF, established in 1984, demands for the autonomy of this region, and claimed responsibility for several attacks since the beginning of 2007 aimed at Ethiopian forces in the area, which the government considers a region under the new federal system.