THE British government is funding and training Ethiopian forces suspected of kidnapping a British citizen, rights group Reprieve said yesterday.
A freedom of information request made by the group has revealed that £1 million of public funds were given to the east African country’s military in the form of “security management” postgraduate programmes and military training.
British support for the Ethiopian government has been severely criticised by the charity, which believes the money helps missions such as the kidnap and rendition of Andargachew “Andy” Tsege.
#Mr Tsege, a father-of-three from London and a prominent political figure in Ethiopia, was seized by security forces when crossing the border between Eritrea and Yemen.
The leader of democracy movement Ginbot 7 is currently on death row in Addis Ababa.Reprieve spokeswoman Maya Foa said: “This funding raises potentially serious questions over the UK’s approach to Ethiopia’s security forces — forces who were responsible for the kidnap and rendition to Ethiopia of British national Andy Tsege in June 2014.
“Whilst there is, of course, a place for legitimate security co-operation between Ethiopia and the UK, the government should ensure that the support it provides does not in any way contribute to the abuses that Andy Tsege currently faces. “Ministers must use the relationship to request Andy’s release and his return home to his family in Britain.”
According to Ethiopian media reports, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to visit the country at the end of this month for talks on “security issues.”
The case of Mr Tsege is also expected to be discussed during the visit.