Sudan: Ethiopian Gunmen Hold Sudanese Merchants for Ransom

Kidnapping illustration (file photo).

El Galabat — Ethiopian gunmen have kidnapped three Sudanese merchants. As a result, the border crossing to Ethiopia and the market in El Galabat, El Gedaref, have been closed for the past two days.

On Saturday morning, the Ethiopian gunmen took the three merchants across the border into Ethiopia and torched a motorcycle owned by the merchants.

Hundreds of relatives of the kidnapped gathered in El Galabat, having travelled from the village of El Mudaradama.

Taher El Jamari told Radio Dabanga that the Ethiopian gunmen (known as shifta in the region) initially demanded a ransom equivalent to SDG 5.4 million for the release of those kidnapped. This amount was later reduced to SDG 3 million after negotiations with the kidnapper's families over the phone. Negotiations between the two parties eventually stalled following a verbal altercation.

Taher El Jamari explained that this was the third killing or kidnapping that has taken place in the month of January and that this shows the lack of security and military presence in the area.

* USD 1 = SDG 55 at the time of posting, according to the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the CBoS. Effective foreign exchange rates however can vary widely on Sudan's parallel market, where the greenback sold this morning for SDG 345.

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