14 Foreign Nationals are in custody of the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission accused of trying to smuggle drugs to Hong Kong on Monday. All except one are from Nigeria and a woman in her 20’s had come to Bole International Airport from Sao Paulo, Brazil on transit heading to Hong Kong.
The latest arrest rounds out increasing arrests of suspected traffickers, 24 in total, caught in Addis Ababa with either cocaine or cannabis.
According to the Deputy Head of the Drug Monitoring and Operation Commission of Ethiopia, Mengisteab Beyene, the suspects hid the drugs in bags and in female undergarments.
The latest arrest comes as Ethiopian Airlines opens up its sky to travelers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing its flights to China and Hong Kong, which are popular destinations to drug smugglers.
There have been many victims from the developing world, including from Ethiopia, caught trying to smuggle drugs to China and now face a possible death sentence with lethal injection. Such people are often victims to drug traffickers’ promise of easy money.
Such case was of a Civil engineer, Nazrawit Abera, who was caught while allegedly transporting drugs. Her family alleges she was framed. While her family has appealed to the Ethiopian government for assistance, she still faces a possible death sentence and her case remains unknown even to her family members.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia last year promised to hand a pamphlet with all Chinese visas rendered to Ethiopian travelers on the risks associated with drug smuggling.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and the Ethiopian Ambassador to China, Teshome Toga, promised to advocate on behalf of the now 30-year-old but has since been overshadowed with Ethiopia’s aspirations to develop.