A British tourist has been killed in Ethiopia, the UK’s foreign office has confirmed, with Ethiopian officials describing it as an accident.
The British national was shot dead when an AK-47 went off in the north-western city of Bahir Dar at 10.30am local time on Christmas Eve, according to reports.
A suspect was reportedly arrested and the body taken to the capital, Addis Ababa, for a postmortem examination.
Government spokesman Shimeles Kema, quoted by Sky News, said the suspect had not known his gun was loaded and that the incident happened in a church.
Kema said: “It appears that a resident of Bahir Dar, who was licensed to carry a gun, accidentally discharged his gun while changing the gun position from one shoulder to the other.”
There were varied accounts of what happened, with other reports quoting the same official, Kema, saying the armed man had been on his way to renew his gun licence when it went off. The victim was described as a 47-year-old man.
A spokeswoman for the UK Foreign Office said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Ethiopia. We are providing consular assistance to the families.”
Bahir Dar is a tourist destination 310 miles (500km) north west of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia’s Amhara region.
Located on the southern tip of Lake Tana at the source of the Blue Nile river, it is home to 200,000 people and several ancient monasteries and churches.
Five tourists were killed, four people were kidnapped and three injured during an attack at Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia’s northern Afar region in January 2012.