AfDB files complaint over assault and detention of Ethiopia staff
African Development Bank staffers released after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed intervenes
Addis Ababa — The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Thursday it had lodged a formal complaint with Ethiopian authorities after two of its staff members were arrested, assaulted and detained by security forces.
Calling it a “very serious diplomatic incident”, the AfDB said the two employees were on October 31 “unlawfully arrested, physically assaulted and detained for many hours by elements of the security forces without any official explanation”.
State finance minister Eyob Tekalign said the government regretted the incident and was investigating.
“I assure you this is an absolutely isolated incident... We are very, very sad about this, have expressed our regrets officially, us as a government ... I am sure we will get to the bottom of it,” he said.
The employees, based in Addis Ababa, were released after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed intervened, the AfDB said.
“For their part, the government has formally acknowledged our complaint, recognised the gravity of the incident and reassured us that all those involved in breaking the law will be thoroughly investigated,” the bank added.
“The government has also reassured the African Development Bank that its staff in Ethiopia and those travelling to the country on mission will continue to enjoy full respect of their rights, privileges and diplomatic immunities under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as the African Development Bank’s Host Country Agreement with the Government of Ethiopia,” it said in a statement on its website.
The bank’s operations in the east African country had not been affected by the incident, it said.
The AfDB has eight projects in Ethiopia worth a total of about $308m, according to its website.
A spokesperson for the AfDB declined to comment further when asked for more details about what happened to its staff.
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