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Ethiopia warns Eritrea over mass abduction

The Ethiopian government has vowed to take what it said will be “appropriate measures” against Eritrea on the aftermath of the abduction of some 85 Ethiopians by the Red Sea State.

Getachew Reda, head of Government Communications Affairs Office with a ministerial portfolio, said that the Ethiopian government is following the incident closely and will take retaliatory actions against the Eritrean government for the mass abduction it carried-out in Northern Ethiopia, Tigrai Regional State.

Initially, reports of the kidnappings were circulated on social media. Subsequently, mainstream media reported that armed forces dressed in Eritrean military uniform crossed the boarder via Mereb River and forcibly kidnapped 85 Ethiopian miners from a gold mining area at a district called Kefta Humera, Tsirga–Girmay locality, Tigrai Regional State.

Halefom Girmay, a young man who reportedly escaped from the kidnapping, told the Voice of America that one young man was killed while another passed away after drowning in the Mereb River. Both were trying to escape from the armed men.

“We have heard about the incident and we are looking into the matter seriously, ” Getachew said. “We have always been taking proportional measures. We will take the same measure against the rogue Eritrean regime,” he said.

Getachew added that he was not surprised by the recent news and and said that the Eritrean government has been engaged in all kinds of belligerent activities in the past.

Last year, Prime Minister Hailemriam Dessalegn said: “The Eritrean government has several groups inside its territory that are ready to launch terrorist attacks against Ethiopia…what we are saying is don’t try, but if you try, we will take action once and for all.”

It is not clear whether the Ethiopian government wants to enter into a full-fledged war in reaction to the recent cross-border attack.  

Eritrea has been carrying out similar cross-border attacks ever since the two nations fought a bloody war in 1998.

Ethiopia on its part has been taking retaliatory actions against the regime in Asmara.