The group of Spanish tourists, stuck in Ethiopia since early August due to clashes between state security forces and the Fano militias in the Amhara region, have been evacuated to the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, from where they plan to fly on next Sunday to Madrid, the ministry said for Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation reported to Europa Press.
The 20 Spaniards, including 18 tourists and a guide, joined by a Spaniard of Ethiopian origin, landed in Addis Ababa from Bahir Dar, an army-controlled city where they lived, after 1 p.m. (Spanish time) this Saturday were previously transferred from Hotel Adis Zemen, where they had been held since August 2.
Upon arrival at the capital’s airport, they were greeted by the Spanish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Manuel Salazar Palma, the Consul Fernando Magallanes and other embassy members.
The group will remain in a hotel in the Ethiopian capital until tomorrow, Sunday 13 August, and then take a scheduled flight to the capital of Spain. With his arrival in Madrid, scheduled for next Monday, the evacuation operation organized and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassy in Addis Ababa will be completed.
The department, led by José Manuel Albares, said the operation was possible after intense negotiations between the embassy and senior Ethiopian government officials, including the prime minister’s security adviser, who was asked to protect the group, and the dispatch of a military helicopter to carry out the evacuation to be carried out by air after ensuring that road transport was not feasible due to cutbacks and the presence of militiamen and criminal gangs.
After confirming the deployment of the Ethiopian Armed Forces helicopter, the Embassy, together with the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces controlling the area, coordinated the group’s transfer to Bahir Dar, where they were staying until their departure this morning. Saturday on a scheduled flight that took her to Addis Ababa.
The conflict broke out in the tourist town of Lalibela on August 1 and spread to the entire Amhara region. Due to the closure of Gondar and Lalibela airports, Spanish tourists found it difficult to leave the country and prevented safe road transit to the capital country.
Before the evacuation of this group, Foreign Affairs reported on Thursday the transfer of two other Spanish tourists who were staying in the city of Gondar.
In any case, the ministry insists on its explicit recommendation, published on its website since August 30, 2022, not to travel to the regions of Tigray, Amhara, Somali, Gambella, Benishangul Gumuz, West Oromia and other areas for any reason, due to the uncertain security situation.