The German tourist, Walter Roepert (MD) that died in the Afar Regional State, in Northeastern Ethiopia earlier this month survived the first shot that accidently hit him and his guide that was meant to be a warning and did not die on the spot as reported by various media outlets in Ethiopia and Germany, The Reporter has learned.
According to diplomatic sources close to matter, Walter Roepert was shot up-close by his captors, although they meant it as warning shot, and hence his conditions got more severe with little medical facilities nearby. His guide, however, survived and is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries.
The noted ear, nose and throat specialist frequently travelled in some of the most daring places in the world and he is said to be no stranger to Ethiopia. Having first ventured into the country in the late 1970’s, visiting as both a tourist and a humanitarian, most specifically in refugee populated areas within the Somali Regional State, he is known to help offer young Ethiopians internship and scholarships to Germany.
The 63 year old was said to solicit his own guide at a bargained price throughout Ethiopia and that was unpopular with the locals who often inhabit the area and charge, mostly European tourists as they pleased. The guide was said to be from a different area, was not from the Afar region, and that seemed to upset his captors when he was shot. Both run for cover, trying to join a larger group that followed all the due process and customs of the area, but they were intercepted by flying bullets midway.
The Reporter spoke to several sources at European embassies off the record in Addis and echoed each other’s version of what happened. The duo made unsuccessful dash to take cover with a larger group of Europeans that followed due procedures and precaution. The Volcanic Lake at Erta Ale, near the Danakil Depression, not far from the Eritrean border, 800 kilometers northeast of the Addis Ababa, is mostly popular with tourists.
The widow of the late doctor was stationed in Ethiopia for two years beginning in 2013 working at the German Embassy. He frequently made visits in Ethiopia as a result and enjoyed venturing outside of the capital.
“Africa was his great love,” she told the German based Schwaebische.de.