Israel bans student missions from travelling to Ethiopia
TEL AVIV - Israeli has banned student missions from visiting Ethiopia, the country's education ministry confirmed, citing "possible threat" to their security.
As part of the students-exchange programme, the two countries have had learners visiting each other for knowledge acquisition.
But the missions will now be temporarily halted until safety and security standards in Africa have been established, authorities said.
The decision comes amid US-Iran conflict, which almost escalated to a perilous war following the murder of Gen Qassem Soleimani.
A statement from the country's education ministry cited a travel advisory imposed on all African countries without giving many details.
“Following warnings against travelling to Africa by the foreign office, the Israeli government had decided not to send any student missions to Ethiopia at this stage,” read the statement.
Already, direct flights scheduled to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have been suspended following the directive, local media reported.
While the suspension of the mission students from visiting Ethiopia maybe affect knowledge dissemination, it would also have a negative ripple effect on the economy.
In August 2018, the body of a missing 21-year-old Israeli student, named Aya Naamneh, was found in an Ethiopian desert, further putting the nation's security at risk.
The Israeli foreign ministry would later say that Naamenh had died from a “fall after separating from her group of other students during a country touristic tour.”
Recently, Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau said that there was a “potential threat to harm Israelis who live in Ethiopian eastern border province of Somalia".
Further, the bureau warned that terror attacks may extend “deeply” into Ethiopia in coming months due to the Al-Shabaab threats.
Also, Jerusalem l referred to the Ethiopian security failure in April 2019 over several attacks across the country, most of them ethnic instigated.
By November last year, at least 100 people had died from the violence, which marred parts of Oromia and Amhara regions.
Even more worryingly, at least four students were reported dead in various Ethiopian universities following the widespread ethnic antagonism.
Relations between Ethiopia and Israel have been stable following a recent visit by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed.
However, the Israeli security has pointed to “possible” presence of cells belonging to the Somali Al-Shabab organisation loyal to Al-Qaeda group in Ethiopia.
Although Ethiopia shares the longest border with Somalia, it has, however, not witnessed many homeland attacks compared to neighbouring Kenya.
But the Horn of Africa nation has been on Al-Shabaab's radar given its notable contributions in aiding the federal government by flushing out the militants.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been keen to expand freedoms in Ethiopia in his bid to revolutionaries the economy, something that has also partly contributed to the violence.