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African Development Bank Withdraws International Staff from Ethiopia Amid Arrests

African Development Bank Withdraws International Staff from Ethiopia Amid Arrests

In a recent development, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced the withdrawal of its international staff from Ethiopia following the arrest and assault of two of its members by Ethiopian security forces in October. The incident involved the “unlawful arrest, physical assault, and detention for hours without charge or any official explanation” of two Addis Ababa-based staff members.

The AfDB, headquartered in Abidjan, condemned the actions as a “gross violation of their personal diplomatic immunities, rights, and privileges.” Despite not disclosing the identities of the victims, diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa have suggested that Abdul Kamara, the bank’s Ethiopia director, was one of those affected, and he has reportedly left the country since.

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In response to the situation, the AfDB clarified that its office in the Ethiopian capital will remain open with local staff, emphasizing its commitment to continuing operations in the region. However, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina expressed concern over the lack of resolution, stating, “The situation is still not yet resolved in a satisfactory manner.”

One notable aspect is the absence of any information shared by the Ethiopian government with the AfDB regarding investigations into the incident. Adesina highlighted this concern, stating, “The African Development Bank remains particularly concerned that the Ethiopian government has, to date, not shared with the Bank any report or details of investigations into the incident.”

The African Development Bank, established in 1964 to finance development efforts in Africa, plays a crucial role in supporting various projects across the continent. Its membership includes not only countries of the African Union but also around 20 non-African nations. In Ethiopia, the Bank’s investments amounted to $1.2 billion across 22 projects as of the end of September.

This incident raises questions about the diplomatic and operational challenges faced by international organizations operating in Ethiopia. The lack of information from the Ethiopian government further adds to the complexity of the situation, leaving stakeholders and the public seeking clarity on the incident and its implications for the AfDB’s continued engagement in the country. The withdrawal of international staff underscores the severity of the situation and emphasizes the need for a transparent and timely resolution to maintain diplomatic relations and support ongoing development efforts in Ethiopia.

As the African Development Bank awaits a satisfactory resolution, the incident calls for diplomatic dialogue and transparency between the concerned parties to address the concerns raised and ensure the continued collaboration between Ethiopia and the AfDB.

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