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The suspected murderer of the 27 year old Austrian Tourist, Stephan Friedl, who shot and injured him lethally with a single bullet on the morning of January 6th, has reportedly been caught according to media reports from the Amhara regional state.
Reports indicate that a group of 4 Austrians out of a party of 10 were attacked by a band of up to 10 criminals, double of what was estimated initially, on a boat trip on the Blue Nile river. They were about 35 kilometers from the falls of the river near Bahir Dar city, the regional capital of the Amhara Regional state, 563km north of Addis Ababa. The region is a favorite destination, both for local and foreign visitors, where Ethiopia’s largest Lake, Tana, is located and is home to various ancient monasteries and the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, which attracts thousands of tourists annually.
Andreas Heuberger, Consul at the Austrian Embassy in Ethiopia, said the attackers reportedly proceeded to rob the tourists and also fired a fatal bullet that hit Friedl. Mean while the other three tourists, Reinhold Baubock, Roman Heller and Stephan Winkler, escaped unharmed and hid themselves in a cave while staying in close contact with the Austrian embassy by satellite phone, which led to their discovery and rescue by regional and federal police personnel, in collaboration with the Embassy.
The corpse of the victim was found hours after the attack and is back in Austria, with the rest of the team, who were not injured in the attack.
Dr. Gudrun Graf, Austrian Ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the tourists, apart from being robbed, had their tents and boats vandalized and, citing from the accounts of the survivors, stated that they survived because the killer’s gun jammed after firing a single shot.
Last week it was reported that up to three of the attackers were captured, while the rest are still on the run.
Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) informed Capital that the motives of the attackers have been ascertained to be robbery and not motivated by a political agenda, as some exiled opposition websites had claimed.
Such crimes committed against tourists are reported in other countries in the region and beyond, but Ethiopia has remained one of the safest countries in this regard. although the northeastern region of Afar had witnessed two separate incidents in the last six years, whereby foreign tourists were kidnapped and even killed, while another planned attempt was foiled in 2008.