Robbery gone wrong claims life
Belachew Yemane, a public relations officer with the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was to head to China to study for a PhD program, before the plan was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he was suddenly killed by what witnesses described as "a robbery gone wrong" in Welkete, his hometown.
He had taken part in a media tour to look at the involvement of businesses on Thursday who are helping the population in the midst of the pandemic that has caused many to suffer. The young man believed to be in his early 30's became a victim of a robbery along with a colleague from a noted media outlet, when both were chased by young people, wielding rocks, in the wee hours of the night, intent on robbing them when he was chased away. Instead, as he ran for safety and an oncoming truck hit him destined to Jimma and was killed on the spot.
The driver, now in Police custody, did not stop and was caught on the outskirts of the City of Jimma by the area police.
Belachew was nominated to study in China by the ministry and was excited to continue his studies and continue to be as a public servant upon his return, according to his colleagues who are in mourning.
The mayor of Welkete, Girum Wenlesembet, paid tribute to Belachew upon hearing his sudden death. “I had spoken to him just the day before and he was excited that a large media delegation was visiting us and that, we, as local governments, needed to take advantage of it and showcase our city,” the mayor said, adding he had put him in contact with the local communications team to take advantage of it. "He was a passionate public servant and that was easy to see. It is unfortunate that he is gone at the prime of his life and even sadder, the circumstances of his death,” he said.
In addition, the mayor highlighted a growing crime rate with young people is a concern and the lack of infrastructure like roads makes it accident prone, especially in the dark. He said he has advocated for more funding for such infrastructures such as road for incoming and outgoing traffic and that he will continue to do so in the future.
As of press time, no suspects were apprehended and hours after his death, his body was transferred to Menilik Hospital in the capital to be tested for COVID-19.