Norwegian citizen is on his way home after detained at the Bole airport.

By Martin Schibbye | September 13, 2020

Norwegian citizenThe arrest and detention of Kjetil Tronvoll, a highly regarded and engaged scholar with a particular expertise on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and academic inquiry. Kjetil has now been freed and is on his way home.

Norwegian professor Kjetil Tronvoll is said to have been abducted by police at Bole Airport in the capital Addis Ababa. He most recently came from Mekelle in the Tigray region, where he followed the “illegal election” criticized by the central government.

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, information was received during the evening that a Norwegian citizen had been detained at the airport.

– We have also been informed that he now has the opportunity to travel further, says Ane Lunde at the press service at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kjetil Tronvoll is head of the think tank Oslo Analytical as well as professor of peace and conflict knowledge at Bjorknes University. For the past thirty years, he has conducted field studies in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Zanzibar and also worked as an advisor and mediator in several peace processes.

One of his special areas is the development of democracy on the African continent.

But his presence during the election, which was won by the former ruling TPLF party, has been criticized by supporters of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for taking a stand for the opposition party.

Something he rejected on twitter this week.

“Just to clarify. I observe the election as part of my 30-year research on political developments in Tigray and Ethiopia. Studying a process does not mean supporting it, but the empirical reality is a key to later being able to analyze the situation. Some seem to confuse this, “wrote the Norwegian professor.

In another follow-up comment on twitter, Kjetil Tronvoll wrote that there was a smear campaign against his presence with allegations that he was there and working illegally on a tourist visa.

“It’s fake! I am here as part of my work as an adjunct professor at the University of Mekelle on an official visa issued by the Ethiopian government. ”

The whole of Ethiopia was supposed to go to the polls in August, but they were postponed to the future. However, politicians in the Tigray region have opposed the postponement of national elections indefinitely, criticizing the Prime Minister for remaining in power without winning any election.

That is why the region’s politicians have arranged their own.

In an interview that Kjetil Tronvoll did recently with Al-Jazeera, he highlighted that both the people in the region and the TPLF party have undergone radical changes in recent years.

According to the ruling party TPLF, what has now taken place is a historic election that has given citizens an opportunity to choose between different political alternatives. They have also warned the government against intervening or in any way trying to stop the election because, according to them, it would be “a declaration of war”.

Relations between Tigray and the central government in Addis Ababa are strained, and in the past the TPLF, the dominant party in Tigray, has dropped out of government cooperation.

When asked by state television (EBC) about the election, the prime minister replied that it was a “minor headache” and that “the election is illegal because only the country’s national election commission can hold elections in Ethiopia”.

When Professor Kjetil Tronvoll returned to Addis Ababa’s airport Bole, he was taken away and detained, according to other passengers.

On Twitter, The Economist correspondent Tom Gardner writes that he was taken to a hotel.

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he now has the opportunity to continue his journey.

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Comments

  1. Norway need to reevaluate the relationship it got with Ethiopia as USA did. Nowegian Ethiopians need to let the Nowegian government know about the situation in Ethiopia as those in USA continuously update the USA government’s actions. USA is a land of immigrants. Trump’s time is best for the homeless new arrival vulnerable Ethiopian refugee migrants in USA,in Trump’s time the infrastructures are being used to help the vulnerable segments within USA which is relieving the burden of helping the new arrivals from us the ones who stayed in USA longer which is just another simple proof that Trump is siding with the ordinary Ethiopian people not with the hypocrite elites in Ethiopia . Trump is willing to let the money reach directly to those who need it without the brokers in the middle . Trump’s plan to withdraw the giving of the lump sum funds to the dellas in EPRDF PP is appropriate since instead he is willing to give it directly to the needies without the ethnic dellala middlemen EPRDF squandering the money.

    For the first time in a very long time the new arrival migrants basic needs such as housing , clothing , nutritious food , medical attention.. are being covered by the USA government . Trump’s actions so far indicate when not if Trump gets reelected he is determined to make America Great Again , by making America a land of opportunity for all. The federal law enforcement agencies had already identified cities within USA and already completed the identifying process of the identities of the habitual violent criminals within the cities, especially cities who need to be helped by sending in the federal law enforcement agencies to do the work, these identified parts of the country finally got the chance to be free from the infestation of crimes in their cities which is costing lives by the Americans loosing generations to crime. The president got the responsibility to identify the failed local law enforcement agencies and try to help enforce the law by sending in federal law enforcement agencies to do the job. Something similar to what Abiy Ahmed did when he sent his federal law enforcement agencies to arrest the terrorist Eskinder Nega and similar to when the federal law enforcement agencies arrested Lidetu Ayalew in the Oromia State.Trump is a visionary leader who is willing to make America a land of opportunity again.

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