Israeli man kidnapped for ransom in northern Ethiopia
AUTHOR: The Times of Israel | PUBLISHED: July 12, 2023
Illustrative: Terraced hills are seen off the road between Gondar and Danshe, a town in an area of western Tigray then annexed by the Amhara region during the ongoing conflict, in Ethiopia on May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
An Israeli citizen was kidnapped while traveling in Ethiopia a few days ago, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Hebrew media reported that he was in his 70s and traveled to the country to seek medical treatment. His captors were reportedly contacted by local authorities and Interpol and were demanding a ransom — initially millions of shekels, later hundreds of thousands.
“Help me. I am in the middle of the jungle,” the man said in a voice message to his family, according to Hebrew media. “Torrential rain is falling. Help me. I should have come back Sunday. I will probably stay here. Help me, my children. This trouble I wouldn’t wish upon my enemies. Help me.”
The family also received a photo of his hands, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said it received a report on Monday about the incident, which occurred near the northern city of Gondar. The ministry said it believed the tourist’s kidnapping was orchestrated for criminal motives.
“The department for Israelis overseas is in contact with the family in Israel and is working with Interpol on the matter. The Israeli consul in Ethiopia is in contact with local security officials to secure the release of the Israeli as soon as possible, safe and sound,” the statement read.