Over 90 foreign nationals and local associates have been detained by the Ethiopian Security and Intelligence Joint Task Force for allegedly engaging in the “illegal exploitation” of gold and other minerals in the resource-rich Gembella and Benishangul Gumuz regional states. The task force announced on Thursday that 45 foreign nationals and three Ethiopians were detained for “illegal exploration of gold and various minerals” in the Gambella region, while 47 unnamed foreign nationals and seven Ethiopians were detained for “illegal gold exploitation and production of other minerals” in the Benishangul Gumuz region.


The task force alleges that the suspects not only illegally extracted minerals but also smuggled them out of the country, depriving Ethiopia of the benefits of its mineral riches. The detainees were suspected of entering the country illegally and engaging in the “illegal” activities of mining.


The task force says that it was able to discover the suspects’ activities through surveillance and tips received from local communities. It warns that similar measures will be taken in other regions to prevent and control such criminal activities against the economy. It calls on local communities to strengthen cooperation with the security agencies by providing information and making proper coordination.


This announcement comes just days after the Benishangul Gumuz regional state said it would take legal action against the booming illicit gold trade in the region, which is causing a notable decrease in the region’s gold supply to the central bank of Ethiopia. Last November, the Benishangul Gumz regional government issued a directive requiring all gold mining companies, small enterprises, and associations to sell their gold products only to the National Bank of Ethiopia to control illegal gold trafficking and contribute to stabilizing the country’s economy.


In an operation conducted in different parts of Addis Abeba city on 13 March, five unnamed foreign nationals suspected of “illegal dollar circulation”, “counterfeit dollar printing”, and “illicit weapons circulation” were also detained and are being investigated.


The Ethiopian Security Detention of over 90 foreign nationals and local associates suspected of illegal exploitation of gold and other minerals is a significant move to tackle the illicit activities that threaten the country’s economy. The security forces are working closely with local communities to identify and detain individuals who engage in illegal activities, and the government is taking legal measures to control the illicit gold trade. The audience for this news is adults above 25 years old who are interested in current events and business news in Ethiopia