9 Kenyans Detained As Ethiopian War Escalates

  • Kenya-Ethiopia border town.
    Kenya-Ethiopia border town.
  • At least 9 Kenyans have been picked up by Ethiopian authorities in the border town of Moyale.

    According to initial reports by the Daily Nation, members of the Ethiopian army crossed over into the Kenyan side earlier today, November 24, in search of supporters of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

    All the individuals held by the Ethiopian authorities are all residents of Somare location, Butiye ward, Moyale sub county, Marsabit county.

    "Ethiopian authorities detained nine Kenyans for allegedly harboring Oromo Liberation Front rebels; Moyale officials say diplomatic talks ongoing," the report reads in part.

    Ethiopian Refugees.
    Ethiopian Refugees.

    However, Ethiopian media outlets gave a higher figure claiming 14 Kenyans were picked during the operation.

    Attempts by Kenyans.co.ke to reach the Foreign Affairs Ministry for a response have gone unanswered.

    "14 members of the Oromo Liberation Front Shene group have been arrested and 4 other members were killed in Moyale Woreda Oromia Regional State. According to the Woreda’s Communication Bureau the operation was conducted by Oromia Police after getting tips from residents," an Ethiopia media outlet (Addis Zeybe) reported.

    According to Kenyan photojournalist. Yassin Juma, 10 Kenyans were arrested including a Form 1 student and a boda boda rider.

    Last week, the national government beefed up security at the border with Ethiopia amid fears of escalating tensions in the government's fight against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

    While there has been tension at the border, the influx of immigrants has continued to be a menace, with administrators lacking lasting solutions.

    Last week, more than six people were arrested while trying to cross into Kenya.

    The human rights watchdog Amnesty International recently issued a report detailing “the massacre of a very large number of civilians” in northern Ethiopia earlier this month, allegedly by groups loyal to the Tigrayan forces. 

    Meanwhile, refugees fleeing the violence said they were targeted because they were Tigrayan.

    In South Sudan, earlier this month, Ethiopian soldiers reportedly disarmed a senior ethnic Ethiopian Tigrayan officer, escorted him to the capital of Juba, and forced him into an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis Ababa, according to the internal account, which was reviewed by Foreign Policy.

    The U.N. Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS, “has become aware that three soldiers were repatriated back to their country without the Mission’s knowledge,” a senior U.N. official at the mission said. “Our Human Rights Division is working to follow up on their situation.”

    “If there are any incidents where personnel are discriminated against or have their rights violated because of their ethnicity or they have concerns about their situation, this may involve a human rights violation under international law,” the official added. 

    At least several hundred people have been killed, with the United Nations condemning 'targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnicity or religion.”

    On November 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali reportedly ordered a military response to a deadly “traitorous” attack on federal army camps in Tigray. The TPLF denied responsibility and said the reported attack was a pretext for an “invasion”.

    A Kenyan security officer manning a customs check point.
    A Kenyan security officer manning a customs check point.