The 18 tourists and the guide who were held in Ethiopia during the armed clashes in Amhara are now at home. The main group, made up of nine Catalans, landed this afternoon at the Josep Tarradellas airport in Barcelona amid great expectations. “We are very relieved”, they have shared. Throughout the day, nine other travelers who have flown to Valencia and Madrid have also returned.
A large number of family members awaited the arrival of the convoy, which landed at 5:45 p.m. in El Prat. Gone are 12 days of anguish where they have experienced the arrival and withdrawal of the Fano rebel militias, confronting the Government; and a double evacuation by land and air until they finally returned home.
“It will take me a while to return,” explained Noelia Bertrán, the group’s guide and employee of the Kananga travel agency, which chartered the trip. “It has been very hard and very intense, but we return as a very united family,” she remarked. Bertrán, 32, was in charge of holding talks with national and international authorities to specify the details of a rescue that has been waiting. “We have felt abandoned by the embassy,” she remarked. Family members have agreed on this perception. “We have not heard from the ambassador until we arrived in Addis Ababa (the capital) and it is incomprehensible.”
The convoy was held up last Wednesday, August 2, in the Amhara region, when it found itself in the midst of an armed conflict between the rebels and the Army. The tourists remained confined in a pension in a rural town, where they shared space with members of the guerrillas, who also rested and ate in the establishment.
After a week of waiting and much uncertainty, the war left the town and the Army entered the town. Soldiers transferred the group to a military base on Thursday morning, from where they flew by helicopter to Bahir Dar, under government control. On Saturday they flew to the capital Addis Ababa and on Sunday night they began the return home with a stopover in Istanbul (Turkey).
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