File photo: People walk in front of the Bole International Airport, in Addis Ababa (Photo: AFP)
The Ethiopian authorities have held a number of Egyptian citizens at Addis Ababa's Bole International airport for visa and quarantine violations, as according to a statement by the Egyptian embassy in Addis Ababa on Thursday.
Fifty-two Egyptian passengers were released later on Thursday and placed in a hotel and 24 others are set to follow in the next few hours, as according to another statement by the embassy.
The embassy said that as soon as it learned of the incident, diplomatic and administrative staff, including the Egyptian consul and the first secretary of the embassy, went to the airport where they checked for the absence of any ill-treatment of the held Egyptians.
"After contacting the Egyptian citizens present at the airport as well as the Ethiopian immigration authorities to find out the reality of the situation, it was confirmed that there were no violations [in treatment]," the Egyptian embassy said.
The embassy also contacted both the Ethiopian ministry of foreign affairs and the Ethiopian Airlines office in Cairo, to clarify the reasons for the incident, the statement said.
The statement did not specify the number of people held by Ethiopian authorities but it did explain that the violations included were that the citizens had obtained tourist visas but with the actual purpose of staying for a period of 14 days in Ethiopia before going to Kuwait.
The Egyptian embassy added in the statement that a number of the Egyptians held at the airport had violated the quarantine instructions applied in Ethiopia in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
"While the embassy affirms that it is currently working to ensure the rights of these citizens and that they receive appropriate treatment, this does not negate the right of the host country to take whatever measures it deems necessary in the case of violating the instructions for disclosing the truth about the purpose of entering the country or the precautionary measures taken by various countries to confront coronavirus," the Egyptian embassy said.