The man who ruled Ethiopia for seven days and spent the next 13 years hiding in the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa has died, family and hospital sources said on Friday.
Tesfaye Gebre Kidan briefly became acting president of the Horn of Africa country after ousted Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam fled Ethiopia in 1991.
A former army colonel, Tesfaye was being tried in absentia for genocide and human rights violations during Mengistu’s 17-year rule.
A long-time defense minister and later vice president, Tesfaye took refuge in the Italian embassy when rebel forces rumbled into the capital in May 1991.
Unconfirmed reports said Tesfaye, thought to be in his late 60s, died after a fight with another embassy resident, Berhanu Bayhe, a former foreign minister who also took refuge at the embassy.
“It seems Tesfaye was hit on the head with a bottle. There were gashes on his head,” said a hospital source who declined to be identified.
Police are investigating the cause of Tesfaye’s death, which was yet to be announced officially.