Freed hotelier stays mum
Kidnapped foreign businessman declines to speak on ordeal
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.
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.
LOCAL SPOT: The Kings in Cape Hotel, in Hout Street. Owner Solomon Ketema has been freed after being abducted.