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Thursday, February 2, 2023

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    Ethiopian officials are kidnapped by Oromo rebels.

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    According to a local official and villagers, Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebels who are fighting Ethiopian federal government forces kidnapped an unknown number of officials from the western town of Mendi earlier this week.

    Residents in Mendi, which is more than 500 kilometres (310 miles) from the capital, Addis Abeba, told the BBC that the rebels took control of the town after intense combat.

    According to residents who spoke to the media on the condition of anonymity, at least three banks were robbed and government offices were vandalised.

    “There is no transportation, shops are closed, and individuals are trapped inside their homes,” one local explained.

    “No government offices were left, they were all destroyed,” said another local.

    A rebel leader acknowledged to the BBC that local officials had been seized, but did not specify how many.

    The OLA, which has formed an alliance with northern Tigrayan troops that have recently negotiated a truce with the government, has been accused of targeting local officials and minorities in Oromia, which they consistently deny.

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