At least 10 U.S. origin passengers have been detained by Ethiopia security forces in recent weeks, the U.S. based media outlet Ethio360 reported on Friday evening.
Quoting unnamed sources, Ethio30 reports the detained passengers most of whom are U.S. citizens had traveled to Ethiopia to visit relatives. However, the passengers had their passports subsequently confiscated by immigration officers, before later being arrested by security forces it was reported.
Ethio360 disclosed the latest detentions started around three weeks ago, with the detained passengers accused of various offenses including having millions of birrs in their bank accounts and engaging in black market economic activities. However, the detainees are reportedly yet to be formally charged in court.
Ethio360 also reported the U.S .embassy to Ethiopia representatives have tried to speak to the prisoners who are currently detained in the notorious Maekelawi prison in Addis Ababa. However the media outlet reported it hasn’t been able to uncover what issues were discussed and what decisions if any have been reached so far during the discussions between the detainees and the U.S. embassy representatives.
Ethio360 also reported immigration officers and security forces have shown an interest in knowing the private lives of the detainees. It further reported the latest detentions have forced others to cancel plans to travel to Ethiopia from the U.S.