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Abducted ICRC staff released in Ethiopia

23-09-2006 News Release 06/109

Two ICRC staff members abducted by an armed group in south-eastern Ethiopia were released unharmed at 2.30 p.m. local time today. The two men were handed over to an ICRC team north of Gode in Ethiopia's Somali Regional State.

Hadis Ahmed Samatar and Donal O'Suilleabhain were abducted by an armed group on 18 September 2006. They were part of a convoy of three vehicles carrying seven Ethiopian staff and one Irish delegate engaged in water projects in the region. The vehicles and the remaining six Ethiopian staff were allowed to return to the ICRC's office in Gode. No one was harmed in the incident.

 The ICRC rapidly received confirmation that both its staff members were unharmed and that they were being held by an armed group, the United Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF).

 The ICRC welcomes the unconditional release of its two staff members by the UWSLF, and their recognition that the ICRC is engaged in purely humanitarian activities in Ethiopia's Somali Regional State. The ICRC has been in the region for eleven years providing assistance both to communities there and to displaced people. Activities include water projects, economic and social support and veterinary services.

 

Hadis Ahmed Samatar is being reunited with his family in Gode. Donal O'Suilleabhain will be travelling on to Addis Ababa where his brother is waiting to welcome him.

 
 
For more information, please contact:
  Ian Piper, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 217 3216
  Patrick Megevand, ICRC Addis Ababa, +251 91 148 0921