The United States has expelled the Ethiopian Embassy gunman who opened fire at peaceful protesters last Monday, Ethiopian embassy sources confirmed to the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT).
Solomon Tadesse Gebreselassie, aka Wedi Woyni, who was the security chief at the embassy, was given 48 hours to leave the United States. Gebreselassie had diplomatic immunity.
It has now been confirmed that Mr. Gebreselassie has arrived in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Airlines insiders told ESAT that the gunman took Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET501, on Wednesday, October 1, at 11:15 AM (EST) from Washington Dulles International Airport. The Boeing 777-200LR carrying Mr. Gebresellasie landed in Addis Ababa after a 12-hour direct flight on Thursday October 2, at 06:45 am local time.
Gebresellassie was captured in a dramatic video brandishing a gun and shooting at unarmed protesters. The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) had announced Monday that it had detained a suspect in connection with the shooting incident.
Nicole Mainor, a USSS spokesperson, declined to give updates to this reporter on the ongoing investigation and referred the matter to the State Department. The department indicated that there will be major updates in connection with the incident in the next few days.
State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, had said in a brief statement that the Department of State took the incident involving the use of firearm very seriously.
Ethiopian Embassy officials allegedly expressed displeasure with the ongoing investigation and body searches that law enforcement agents had conducted on Gebreselassie and a few other embassy staffers.
Embassy gunman triggers diplomatic row
(Oct 1, 2014) – It emerged that the case of the Ethiopian Embassy gunman, Solomon “Wedi Weyni”, has caused a diplomatic row between the TPLF regime and the United States.
The U.S. Secret Service had announced on Monday that the embassy gunman was in custody. According to Ethiopian Embassy sources, embassy officials immediately complained that the gunman’s diplomatic immunity, as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, was violated. The gunman was freed later in the day after facing grilling by U.S. Secret Service. Established in 1865, the federal agency is mandated to protect the U.S. President, Vice President and visiting foreign leaders and dignitaries. The elite force also conducts criminal investigations.
In the aftermath of the shooting incident, Brian Leary, spokesman of U.S. Secret Service, issued the following statement to members of the media:
“At approximately 1215 pm today, U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division received information of possible shots fired in the vicinity of the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, D.C.Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers immediately responded and detained an individual believed to be the shooter. There have been no reported injuries as a result of this incident.MPD, State Department, and USSS Uniformed Division are on scene.”
Nicole Mainor of the U.S. Secret Service told this reporter that further information on this matter should be obtained from the State Department. She referred any questions related to the case to the State Department and declined to give further details.
In a brief statement, State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said that the Department of State took the incident involving the use of firearm very seriously. “The Department is in contact with the Embassy of Ethiopia and the U.S. Secret Service,” she noted.
The investigation into the criminal incident is ongoing. The State Department is in talks with the Ethiopian Embassy on the fate of Wedi Weyni, who is likely to face either prosecution or deportation because of the criminal nature of the incident. The department is expected to give further updates in the next few days.
Wodi Woyni, a member of the ruling ethnic junta, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, was captured on video while dramatically brandishing a gun and shooting at peaceful and unarmed protesters.
The protesters said that they went to the embassy to protest recent mass killings in the Ogaden and Gambella regions as well as the detention of a number of journalists, bloggers and activists who have faced trumped-up terrorism charges.