A spokesman for the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), Mr. Mouhammad al Omar, listed three conditions?
A spokesman for the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), Mr. Mouhammad al Omar, listed three conditions for the safety of two Americans and six Ethiopians kidnapped during a raid on a U.S. communications centre at Asmara, Ethiopia, last Friday, when he addressed a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on Monday (15 September).
Mr. Omar called on the United States to announce its attitude on the conditions, and said that if silence was the answer he ELF wold not be responsible for what happened.
The conditions are: that the U.S. shut down the communications centre and all other bases it operates in Eritrea; pay compensation for areas of Eritrea bombed by the Ethiopean Government..."Using American weapons"...; refrain from giving aid to Ethiopia; and also the release of Eritrean freedom fighters held in Addis Ababa jails.
ELF now hold a total of four Americans and six Ethiopians hostage. The first kidnap took place last July,when liberation forces captured two Americans from the same Kagrew centre.
The groups raid on Friday was a bloody battle. An Ethiopian Government spokesman said at least nine Ethiopian civilians were killed and 29 wounded when the forces shot their way into the station compound.
ELF demanded cash and arms from the U.S. for the two men kidnapped last July but American officials say they have not been able to establish contacts with the forces on a basis which negotiations could take place.
Eritrea is a northern province of Ethiopia and secessionist forces have been battling with the Ethiopian Government for its independence for some time.
Brigadier-General Teferi Bante, Chairman of Ethiopia's provisional Military Government, said the kidnappers were being hunted by all available men. He said the Government had expected some action from ELF to mark celebrations of the first anniversary of the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie.