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Textile firm held hostage by youth

Adama youth are blocking containers filled with high-tech apparel machines and equipment, located inside the Adama Industrial Park. They are asking for a hefty sum of money before they are willing to leave. The truck has been blocked for over a week.
Youngsters are lying under the truck blocking movement, just waiting for money. They want to be paid per container and even single machines.
Antex Group president Quian Anuha says, they repeatedly reported the problem to government agencies with no avail. The manager said that he told Abebe Abebayehu, who runs the Ethiopian Investment commission, Lelise Neme, CEO of Industrial Park Development, the Major of Adama and Adama police station but no one responded.
“I never encountered this type of situation in other countries so we don’t know how to solve the problem,” says Quian Anuha, President of Antex Group.
They sit in groups in the park near the shed taking turns observing the situation.
“It is not only about the money, the nature of the machines by themselves requires a high amount of security because much damage has occurred to the company’s property previously,” added Quian.
The youth claim that they do not have jobs and need money. They told the manager of Antex that unemployment has forced them to do this action.
The President partially blames the Adama police officers for not doing their jobs. Police have told him that blocking the machines was not a criminal act or that they did not have a jurisdiction.
“The problem occurred because of a misunderstanding between youth and the Adama City Administration. The City is holding discussions with the people blocking the containers to solve the problem,” says Ephrem Bekel, Operation Manager of Adama Industrial Park.
The company refrained from disclosing how much damage they had suffered.
As part of the government’s attempt to develop the textile industry, Antex became the first company to enter the Chinese-built Adama Industrial Park to manufacture sportswear, underwear, and swimwear and fashion wear targeting the US and European market.
“Unless there is protection for investors, this will be a big trouble for the economy and hurt the image of the country,” Quian said.
The firm’s exported its first batch of apparels to Europe four months ago generating an estimated 110,000 USD.
Antex was established with an initial investment of USD 10 million, and received widespread acclaim from Ethiopian government officials and local community members for creating about 1,600 jobs. The CEO of Industrial Park, Lelise Neme said that she would ask the Ethiopian Investment Commission about the case saying that she does not know about it.


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