An Israeli citizen was abducted during a visit to Ethiopia’s Gondar region last week, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday evening.
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.”
According to the Kan public broadcaster, the 79-year-old abductee had sent a voicemail to his family saying, “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.”
He reportedly also called on family members to collect ransom money, leading Israeli officials to believe the background is criminal.
Israel does not currently advise against travel to the Horn of Africa country’s Amhara region, which includes Gondar, but the U.S. State Department warns of “sporadic violent conflict and civil unrest” there.