By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
September 27, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – A car accident in Ethiopia’s Amhara region claimed the lives of 9 well-known Ethiopian artists and seriously injured 19 others.
“The tragic incident occurred on Monday near Kobo town while the cultural Squad from the Northern Tigray region was in land transport heading to Khartoum” Tigray region Culture and Tourism Bureau head, Kebede Amare, told Sudan Tribune.
“The group, along other three cultural groups from three Ethiopia regions was scheduled to display [a] concert in Khartoum beginning Thursday” Amare said. Other Ethiopian groups from the Amhara, Oromiya and SNNP regions of have already arrived in Khartoum’’
The Tigrian artists were former freedom fighters who had significant roles during the 17 year long struggle against the former Mengustu Hailemariam led Derg military rule, which was toppled in 1991.
Bodies of victims among others Berhane Gebremeskel (Gano), Berhane Gebrehiwot (Handebet), Berhane Andey (Kunama), were airlifted from area of incident.
Their 17 injured colleagues were taken to nearby hospital for treatment.
Amare said the goal of the show was to attract Sudanese tourists to the country and also was part of the ongoing efforts to launch direct flights to and from regions of Sudan and Ethiopia.
Ethiopian singers are particularly appreciated in Sudan. With their Sudanese counterparts who also used to perform concerts in Ethiopia, they are the true expression of solid relations between the people in the two neighboring states.
The Ethiopian official extended sincere condolences to the families of victims and friends.
Ethiopia, has the second highest populace in Africa and one of the highest numbers of traffic accidents in the continent.
Reports show, at least 2,000 people die in road accidents annually in the horn of Africa country.