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Israeli captured in Ethiopia pleads for help in recording

His captors sent Francis Adbabayi's family a video of him bound hand and foot and guarded by an armed man. They are demanding a ransom of $44,000.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Nov. 16, 2019. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Nov. 16, 2019. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

An Israeli man being held for ransom in Ethiopia has pleaded for help in a recording sent to his family that surfaced on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the hostage was identified as Francis Adbabayi, 79, from Rishon Lezion, who traveled to his native country of Ethiopia a few weeks ago.

Adbabayi’s relatives revealed that his abductors sent them a recorded message, pictures and a short video clip of him bound at the hands and feet and guarded by an armed man.

The kidnappers are demanding 2.5 million Ethiopian birr, about 160,000 shekels ($44,000) for his release.

“Help me. I’m in the middle of the jungle. It’s raining hard. Help me… This trouble I wouldn’t wish upon my enemies,” Adbabayi reportedly said in the recording.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday evening that Adbabayi had been captured in Ethiopia’s Gondar region last week.

Jerusalem told Hebrew media that officials were working with Interpol on the matter. Additionally, the Israeli consul in Addis Ababa is said to be in contact with local authorities to “bring about the release of the Israeli citizen as soon as possible, safe and sound.”

The consul reportedly also called on family members to collect ransom money, leading Israeli officials to believe the motive in the kidnapping is criminal, not terror-related.

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