But a separate motorbike accident claimed the life of one person

A senior government official who was a part of a large delegation led by Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen during a visit to  Somali region in eastern Ethiopia refuted allegations that deputy Prime Minister  Demeke Mekonnen’s car was involved in a serious car crash with a motorbike in the area.However, our source said that a separate motorbike accident  by one of the entourages from the region claimed the life of one man who was sitting behind the motorbike’s rider.

A delegation of more than 250 personnel comprising of highlevel government officials, including regional presidents, local investors and artists have traveled to the region on Thursday Oct. 17th where television pictures showed them as being welcomed by regional Chief Administrator of Somali Regional State Abdi Mohammed Umer at Gode airport.

On Monday Ogadentoday quoted officials of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) claiming attacks against the delegation by ONLF fighters in Kebri Dar airport in Somali region. Soon rumors spread that Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen’s car was involved in an accident near Kebri Dar.

According to our source, the accident happened on Friday afternoon on Oct. 18th during the drive from Jijiga town to Kebri Dar roughly 50 meters away from the motorcade accompanying the Deputy Prime Minister when the biker took a speedy U-turn and slid off the road killing the second person on impact. “It was a tragic event and members of the delegation have immediately pledged to give close to 300, 000 br. to the families of the diseased,” our source said.

The visit was organized by the federal government to showcase the region’s ongoing development programs ahead of the 8th Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day, the most colorful events sponsored every year by the federal government to celebrate the country’s diverse ethnic groups to be held in Dec. this year in the Somali region.

Home to more than 5 million ethnic Somalis, the Ograden region is an area where separatist ONLF fighters are fighting for autonomous for the last five decades, although as of late separate peace deals were reached at different times between sections of ONLF and the central government.   The area has been sealed off since 2005 following attacks by ONLF fighters against foreign oil company workers that claimed the lives of 76 people.

 Photo: ENA

Caption: Somali Regional Chief Abdi Mahamoud Omar receiving the delegation led by DPM Demeke Mekonnen at Gode airport

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