BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FEBRUARY 6, 2014
NAIROBI, Kenya – Two Kenya police officers have denied kidnapping two officials of the Ethiopian rebel group the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
The two men were charged Thursday with the Jan. 26 kidnapping of Sulub Abdi Ahmed and Ali Ahmed Hussein, members of the ONLF team that was negotiating with the Ethiopian government. According to Abdi Rahman Mahdi, the chief negotiator for the rebels, after the pair’s abduction the two were driven to the Kenya-Ethiopian border where they were picked up by Ethiopian helicopters.
Mahdi said if the two are not released by Ethiopia unconditionally, negotiation between the ONLF and Ethiopian government will not resume. Negotiations broke down in October 2012.
The rebels want an independent state for Ethiopia’s Ogaden region, which is mostly inhabited by ethnic Somalis.