ADDIS ABABA : 21 students freed after mass abduction, says Ethiopia.

Ethiopia said on Saturday that 21 university students had been freed after the gunmen held them captive for weeks - the latest incident of growing insecurity at college level schools across the country.

The mass abduction occurred in early December, one student told AFP, but officials waited until Saturday to acknowledge it.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Abby Ahmed told state  television that 13 female students and eight males had ''been released in a peaceful manner'' but that six others were still unaccounted for.

''We're working with local elders, religious leaders and security forces to secure the release of students peacefully,'' Nigussu Tilahun said.

He did not say whether ransoms were paid, not whom the government believed was responsible.

The incident occurred in Ethiopia's restive Oromia region. [AP]


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