Freed hote­lier stays mum

Kid­napped for­eign busi­ness­man de­clines to speak on or­deal

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - MUR­RAY WIL­LIAMS

A KID­NAPPED Cape Town ho­tel owner has been freed by his cap­tors, but the man re­fused yes­ter­day to speak about his or­deal, claim­ing he still feared for his life.

Solomon Ketema, 60, is Ethiopian and owns two ho­tels in Ad­dis Ababa, the Kings Ho­tel Sar­bet and the Kings Ho­tel Kal­ity, as well as the Kings in Cape Ho­tel in Hout Street, in Cape Town’s CBD.

He was kid­napped 12.45am on De­cem­ber 11.

Ac­cord­ing to a source, Ketema was ab­ducted as he drove his sil­ver Mercedes into the park­ing lot of his Sea Point apart­ment.

The car was re­cov­ered in Langa on the same day, but there was no sign of Ketema.

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No in­for­ma­tion was re­leased in the week that fol­lowed, al­though sources said hostage ne­go­ti­a­tions had be­gun and that the kid­nap­ping was too sen­si­tive to com­ment on.

Weekend Ar­gus sis­ter ti­tle the Cape Ar­gus was of­fi­cially re­quested not to pub­lish fur­ther de­tails, in or­der not to po­ten­tially com­pro­mise Ketema’s safety as del­i­cate ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued.

Sources in Ad­dis Ababa, how­ever, said Ketema had owned Con­corde, that city’s most fa­mous night­club, be­fore sell­ing it two years ago to a prom­i­nent DJ for abut R18 mil­lion.

The sale was re­ported in Ethiopia’s Cap­i­tal news­pa­per.

On Christ­mas Eve, a web­site in Ethiopia, where Ke- tema still has fam­ily, re­ported that investigators in Cape Town were “very sen­si­tive of dis­clos­ing in­for­ma­tion, as ne­go­ti­a­tions were tak­ing place to pay the de­manded ran­som”.

Yes­ter­day three sep­a­rate sources told Weekend Ar­gus that Ketema was re­leased by his cap­tors on Tues­day last week.

The web­site also re­ported that Ketema’s sis­ter told a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion that her brother was “safe and sound”, and that this had been con­firmed by Ketema’s “man­ager in Ad­dis Ababa”.

Weekend Ar­gus fur­ther cor­rob­o­rated news of his se­cret re­lease with sources in Cape Town, and yes­ter­day met Ketema, who said he was too afraid to speak about the kid­nap­ping.

It has been re­ported in Ethiopia, how­ever, that his re­lease was se­cured with at least the par­tial in­volve­ment of the Ital­ian em­bassy, as Ketema holds dual na­tion­al­ity.

PIC­TURE HENK KRUGER

LO­CAL SPOT: The Kings in Cape Ho­tel, in Hout Street. Owner Solomon Ketema has been freed af­ter be­ing ab­ducted.

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