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DW Amharic - Drivers Offering Transportation Services From Gonder to Metemma Face Risk of Killings and Abductions


Disclaimer: This is an English translation of an Amharic article taken from DW Amharic and is intended solely for information purposes.


DW Amharic - Drivers Offering Transportation Services From Gonder to Metemma Face Risk of Killings and Abductions


June 26, 2024


According to one driver, “we are unsure who to send our appeals to as people are abducted in various areas and ransoms in the millions of birr are demanded, in the span of less than a week two drivers were killed just outside of Maksegnit, another driver was shot and killed in a place called Ferenj-Wiha, a mini-bus driver was also killed on the Metemma road.”


Drivers in Amhara, especially those working in zones of Gonder have faced abductions, beatings and at worst killings, however the government on its end has stated protection is being provided to drivers on roads. In West, South and Central Gonder Zones, drivers and other workers have faced abductions followed by demands for payment of ransoms beyond their means, as they face beatings and killings. Some have told DW by phone they have been forced to stop working.


Among the drivers who spoke to us, one explained what transpired against him as follows. “...I have now stopped working, ‘why can't we raise our children in peace…?’ I decided I would rather clean shoes in my homeland rather than face the same fate as other drivers, as you leave Gayint within kilometers you will either face beatings, or you will be abducted, or you will be killed, in my case for example I was beaten near a place called Tertira near Kimir-Dingaye and they asked me to give them 2,000 birr which I did but they beat my back and neck with a blunt weapon until they had enough, and then they left me there taking the money with them, also in a place called Alem-Ber one of our friends one of the tires on his vehicle shot and they took him away, beyond him in a place called Qulqual-Ber in Enfranz another one of our friends had his vehicle tire shot as he was driving and when the vehicle came to a stop he fled for the forest and managed to save his own life.”


Another driver in Amhara Region explains that drivers face abduction, beatings and killings. He says, “we are unsure who to send our appeals to as people are abducted in various areas and ransoms in the millions of birr are demanded, in the span of less than a week two drivers were killed just outside of Maksegnit, another driver was shot and killed in a place called Ferenj-Wiha, a mini-bus driver was also killed on the Metemma road, on the Humera line between Musiebamb and Sanja, abductions have become normalized from Feres-Megiriya to Musiebamb.”


A source who spoke to us from South Gonder Zone said the problem has worsened, he said “from the intersection of Tseda and Wereta, along the line from Wereta intersection to Gayint it has not been possible to work, the situation seems hopeless, we do not understand the intention, whether it's to stop movement in the area or whether it's due to a hatred that has been formed for drivers, we are uncertain. Within these past 10 days in the Ferenj-Wiha area over 3 drivers have been killed.”


The appeals of cross-country drivers exposed to abductions


South Gonder administrator Ato Tilahun Dejene says in the areas where these problems have allegedly occurred including in the Alem-Ber and Gasa areas there are sufficient government security forces therefore the extent of casualties has been exaggerated, he also added that some drivers have consorted with illegal individuals to facilitate payment to vehicle repair shops, overall he explained there was sufficient and reliable security. Administrator of Metemma Woreda in West Gonder Zone Ato Dessalegn Moges also said there was security being undertaken for the highway connecting Genda-Wiha to Gonder.


It has also been said that some suspects were arrested in connection with the June 16, 2024 (Sene 9, 2016 EC) incident during which a vehicle was stopped and a refugee from Sudan and 2 Ethiopians were killed.


Alemnew Mekonnen

Hirut Melese

Negash Mehamed

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